Courtesy of Evelynn Santos

“He Was So Loving” Says Friend of Teen Struck and Killed by an Amtrak Train

UPDATED: Sept. 16, 9:46 a.m. — They met through Instagram and were friends for more than three years.

Courtesy of Evelynn Santos

Courtesy of Evelynn Santos

Evelynn Santos, a Damascus High School student, said John Martin DeReggi Jr- the teen struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Boyds on Monday afternoon- was a loving and affectionate person.

“We ended up dating, and we got really close,” Santos said in a phone interview adding that she is devastated over the loss of her friend.

According to police, the initial investigation indicates the teen was walking along the tracks with two other teens when, for reasons still under investigation, he went onto the tracks into the path of a northbound Amtrak train. Police said the teen died from his injuries at the scene.

“He was my first love. … We went to the same church. He was so loving. He was very social and very affectionate,” Santos said.

Friends and school officials called DeReggi a “big personality.” Some even said his motto in life was “Live savage. Never average.”

DeReggi was an 11th grader at Clarksburg High School. Stephen Whiting, the high school’s principal, said the 16-year-old teen was a “lively kid.”

“I was lucky enough to be the principal of Rocky Hill Middle School, so I’ve known him since sixth grade. Lively, fun, lovely, just enjoying life. … He was always smiling,” Whiting said.

DeReggi participated in the school’s track team and worked out with the football team but chose not to play.

Whiting added today was a tough day.

“We had a lot of people here working with the kids making sure that they had what they needed. It’s really important that we stick together through this, and we tried to make today as normal as possible, but we did have places for the kids to go and people for the kids to talk to,” Whiting said.

And he added, “Sad is the only word. … It’s always hard to lose a student. … Kids aren’t supposed to leave us at 16-years-old.”

According to Santos, a “very emotional” candlelight vigil was held on Tuesday evening to honor DeReggi’s life at the Difference Makers Church in Damascus.

“He lived life to the fullest [and] he wanted to be the best. … It’s just so devastating,” Santos said.

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The Clarksburg High School community will be holding a memorial dedication in honor of Jacob Dennis, Cary Greene, Patrick Shifflett, and John DeReggi tonight at the school’s football stadium. According to a Facebook event created by the Clarksburg Parent, Teacher, and Student Assosication (PTSA) a memorial will be unveiled in the teens names. Dennis, Greene, […]

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"He Was So Loving" Says Friend of Teen Struck and Killed by an Amtrak Train

Courtesy of Evelynn Santos

UPDATED: Sept. 16, 9:46 a.m. — They met through Instagram and were friends for more than three years. Evelynn Santos, a Damascus High School student, said John Martin DeReggi Jr- the teen struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Boyds on Monday afternoon- was a loving and affectionate person. “We ended up dating, and […]

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UPDATED A 16-year-old boy was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Boyds on Monday afternoon, according to Montgomery County Police. It happened shortly before 5 p.m. in the area of Boyds Market, located at 15110 Barnesville Road. According to police, the initial investigation indicates the teen was walking along the tracks with two […]

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at sburke@mymcmedia.org or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.

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