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15-year-old killed in ‘devastating’ freight train accident, Virginia deputies say

A 15-year-old known for his optimism and positivity was killed after being struck by a freight train in Virginia, deputies say.

The train struck Chris Asare-Budu shortly before 8 a.m. on Nov. 29, family members and his high school confirmed.

The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office called it a “devastating tragedy” in a Nov. 29 news release.

“I just feel like it’s a dream,” Ernest Lartey, Asare-Budu’s uncle, told WRIC. He added, “He is a model son for anybody. You would love to have Chris to be your son.”

Asare-Budu was a student at Atlee High School in Mechanicsville, where the community wore orange Dec. 1 to honor his life.

Atlee principal John Wheeler said students asked to celebrate Asare-Budu’s life by wearing the color.

“The color orange is known to symbolize optimism, warmth and positivity, character traits that Chris epitomized so very well,” Wheeler said in an announcement Nov. 30.

Other local elementary, middle and high schools also asked their students to wear orange in solidarity.

The high school borders a train line that separates the school from a subdivision near the crossing where Asare-Budu was found dead.

“For those of you who knew Chris, we ask that you remember and celebrate his positivity, kindness, and his incredible ability to empower and lead others in their endeavors,” Wheeler said in a statement obtained by WWBT. “Our school and community will forever be grateful for Chris’ legacy.”

Hanover County Public Schools extended sympathies to the Atlee community, the train conductor and Asare-Budu’s family for the “tragic and unimaginable loss.”

Mechanicsville is about 13 miles north of Richmond.

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