CEDAR LAKE | A 15-year-old Hanover Central High School student was struck and killed by a Norfolk Southern train Wednesday afternoon as she walked along railroad tracks.
Chloe Burks, of St. John, hoped to join the military and become a nurse. She was asking her parents to enroll her in driver's training so she could get her learner's permit. And her teachers told her mother the teen excelled in science.
Her mother, Kim Burks, said the last time she saw her daughter was when she dropped her off at the school after an orthodontist appointment Wednesday morning.
"I gave her money for Subway to eat after school," Burks said.
After school ended, Chloe walked her best friend home before getting ready to go to soccer practice, her mother said.
"That was one of her favorite things to do is walk on the railroad tracks, and I made her promise me not to put both headphones on," she said.
But the teen hadn't listened to her parents and had both headphones in as the train came up behind her about 2:30 p.m. in the 100 block of 133rd Avenue, her mother said.
Chloe suffered blunt force trauma as the result of an apparent accident, according to a Lake County coroner's news release.
The teen had been listening to her iPod, her mother said.
Train crews remained on the southbound train as Cedar Lake police and Volunteer Fire Department crews directed traffic with assistance from Lake County sheriff's officers.
The family was notified later Wednesday. Chloe had one sister, Hannah Burks, with whom she was very close.
Oftentimes Hannah Burks, 17, would pick up Chloe from soccer or volleyball practice and go out to eat. The older sister called Chloe "Pee Wee."
Their father, Timothy Burks, reserved Saturday mornings to spend time with the duo. He enjoyed taking them to the movies before heading to work, Kim Burks said.
She said she will miss talking and laughing with her daughter more than anything. Her favorite thing to do with Chloe was to get a burger and fries and just talk, she said.
"Chloe was beautiful, so different," she said. "(She was) so bright and so insightful and compassionate about everything."
Times correspondent Melanie Csepiga contributed to this report.