Cody Parenteau’s family was still celebrating his younger siblings’ birthdays on Sunday when they got word that he had been struck and killed by a passing train in Coon Rapids.
Jen Perna confirmed Monday that it was her 16-year-old son who, wearing headphones and walking the tracks near the 1000 block of Northdale Boulevard NW., was hit and killed by the train.
She got word from police about 6 p.m. Sunday.
“I’ve just been in a daze,” Perna said. “It’s just been a blur.”
Parenteau was a student at River Trail Learning Center who enjoyed spending time with his siblings and friends, she said, and was “getting serious about school and getting a job.”
He was only 9 when his biological father died and he had struggled with that loss, she said.
Amy McBeth, spokeswoman for the BNSF Railway, said an eastbound BNSF train struck a person walking on the tracks at a spot not designated for pedestrians. Anoka County sheriff’s deputies and BNSF personnel responded.
“It is extremely dangerous, and illegal, to be on railroad tracks or to cross railroad tracks at any location other than a designated street or pedestrian crossing,” McBeth said in an e-mail.
Perna said she was told that her son had tried at the last second to get out of the way of the train.
“I’m not sure what happened, but the railroad company saw him and told me that he did try to get out of the way. … I don’t think he did this intentionally,” she said.
Parenteau’s family planned to host a vigil for him Monday night near the train tracks. Funeral plans have not yet been set.