Family sets up RCC scholarship for teen killed by train — (The Press-Enterprise)

SSRI Ed note: Happy, engaged, talented teen takes antidepressant for 3 months, psychiatrist adds another, two weeks later she shocks everyone by stepping in front of a train.

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The Press-Enterprise


The family of a Riverside teenager killed by a train June 29 will honor her memory by establishing a fund for disabled students.

A Union Pacific train struck 16-year-old Alyssa “Aly” McCroskey at 2:45 a.m. near Riverside Avenue. The coroner’s office ruled the death a suicide.

The goal of the Aly McCroskey Memorial Scholarship is a $10,000 minimum endowment at Riverside City College, according to Amy Cardullo, director of the RCC District Foundation.

“Aly was my angel,” said her grandmother, Paula McCroskey, 60, of Moreno Valley, who is the Riverside Community College District dean of disabled student programs.

“Aly loved education and reading and was never without a book,” Paula McCroskey said by phone.

Beginning in spring, the school will award a scholarship every year to a student, preferably an English major, said Alyssa’s mother, Shannon McCroskey, 38, by phone.

“We want Aly’s memory to live forever,” said her mother’s twin sister, Page Scarpine, of Harbor City, by phone. “We are heartbroken.”

Alyssa McCroskey had just finished her sophomore year at Riverside’s Poly High School. Her mother said she and her family and Aly’s friends were shocked by her death. They find it hard to believe that the teenager who’d just started a world religions course at RCC and had signed up for a trip abroad would take her own life.

But Lt. Cynthia Mayman with the Riverside County coroner said Tuesday that her office reached that conclusion after an investigation that included interviews with the family, the conductor, train engineers and Union Pacific’s investigators.

A video supplied by Union Pacific, taken from the front of the train, is conclusive, she said.

It showed that Aly was not wandering along the tracks, Mayman said by phone. Aly had set her iPod beside the tracks before she stepped in front of the oncoming train.

“She was waiting, facing the train with her arms crossed,” Mayman said. “She didn’t trip. She was alone. It was very intentional.”

Shannon McCroskey said Tuesday that Aly had a recent history of problems and had been cutting herself.

“But there were no cries for help,” she said. “I’m dumbfounded. She was loved by so many.”

She said that Aly was seeing a psychiatrist and had been taking an anti-depressant since February. Two weeks before her death the doctor had added another prescription drug, her mother said.

Checks for her memorial fund can be sent to the Riverside Community College Foundation, 4800 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92506 with a note designating that it is for the Aly McCroskey Memorial Scholarship.

Reach Laurie Lucas at 951-368-9569 or