There were still plenty of tears, but friends and family of Anna Marie Stickel also took a few moments to smile and laugh Thursday night.
They gathered to remember the Middle River teen who was hit and killed by a train as she walked along the train tracks to school two years ago.
The candlelight vigil was held on Orems Road, close to where Stickel was killed on Jan. 5, 2010. More than 50 people came out to remember the beautiful 14-year-old, who was a freshman at at the time of her death.
“It’s not easy, but we can celebrate her life more this year than mourn her passing,” said Tara Stickel, Anna Marie’s mother. “It’s nice to know there are still so many people out there that care for her.”
As she wiped away her tears, Tara Stickel, cheered up slightly as she looked at all of the stuffed animals people tied to the newly-installed fences along the train track.
Anna Marie Stickel was just one of many teens that used the train tracks as a short cut through the decades in the Essex-Middle River area. Most made their way onto the track, despite it being considered trespassing, through holes in badly worn out fences.
In the years since the teen’s death, Tara Stickel, along with Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger . Since then, Amtrak began work .
When completed, there will be nearly two miles of continuous fencing from Martin Boulevard to Stemmers Run Road. Individuals may also use the pedestrian underpass at Martin Boulevard, which will also be improved as part of the project, to safely cross to the other side of the tracks.
The section of track where the fence is being installed includes Acela Express and Northeast Regional service, as well as some freight train traffic, which operate at speeds up to 125 mph.
“This is Anna’s fence,” Tara Stickel said. “She might have died and taken from us too soon, but this fence will help keep other teens safe in the future.”