High school senior Connor O’Keefe was killed early Saturday afternoon by an Amtrak passenger train near Fernald Point Lane in Montecito. The 18-year-old was walking the railroad tracks northbound; the train was heading the same direction, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover, adding that the engineer blew the horn and activated the braking system. The incident remains under investigation, according to Lt. Rob Plastino. “As you can imagine, it’s important to the family that they understand the circumstances thoroughly. We will share the investigation and our determination to the type of death once that has been exhaustively concluded.”
“Connor’s passing brings with it a sadness as our school community deals with the emotional impact of this loss,” Santa Barbara High School Principal John Becchio said in a statement. Staffed with counselors and therapists, the school has set up compassion centers in the Alumni Room and at the MAD Academy. The campus observed a moment of silence Monday morning. “In times like this it is important that we stay together as a community and communicate with one another,” Becchio said.
O’Keefe played on the school’s water polo team and also competed at the club level.