Fresno, CA – An eight-year-old girl was killed on Monday evening after her mother made her cut underneath an idling train to get to her bus stop.
The incident occurred at about 6 p.m. on Dec. 17 as the family was trying to catch a bus home,
Joy Frances Collins, 44, reportedly told her daughter, eight-year-old Joy Anna Harris, to “hurry up” but the girl was reluctant to crawl under the idling train, according to the Fresno Bee.
The girl’s nine-year-old brother went first, while the train was stationary, and he made it safely across, according to police.
After much encouragement from her mother, Joy Anna finally followed him.
However, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the train started to move just as the eight-year-old girl made her attempt at crossing underneath it.
The train lurched forward and the girl became trapped. She was dragged about 500 feet as the mother ran behind her.
By the time Collins was able to pull her daughter out, the little girl had died from traumatic injuries, according to the Fresno Bee.
Collins was arrested and charged with child neglect, according to the New York Daily News.
Police determined that the mother’s behavior was negligent based on witness statements, how dark it was when she made her children cut underneath the train, and her daughter’s reluctance to follow her mother’s instructions, the Fresno Bee reported.
Witnesses told police that the mother had told her children to try the dangerous shortcut at least seven other times, according to the Fresno Bee.
The mother admitted that their family had cut underneath the trains on multiple occasions without any problem.
Sheriff Dyer said that Fresno County Child Protection Services have had prior contact with Collins.
Christy Miller, who lives in home near the tracks, said she heard the screams of the family after the accident.
Miller said there should be a fence built between the tracks and the nearby homes and apartments, according to the Fresno Bee.
Her sentiment was echoed by numerous neighbors who said the wide-open tracks in the middle of a residential neighborhood are the home to many accidents involving residents and trains.