A California woman is behind bars after allegedly urging her 8-year-old daughter to crawl under a freight train. While the girl was under the train, it lurched forward, killing her, KABC-TV (Los Angeles) is reporting. The woman and her children were allegedly trying to cross the train tracks to catch a bus.
Joy Frances Collins, 44, and her two children, an 8-year-old girl identified as Joyanna Harris, and a 9-year-old son, whose name has not been provided, were trying to get from their Fresno home to a bus stop. Witnesses say that the Collins was not at all concerned about a stopped Burlington Northern Santa Fe train on the tracks, encouraging the boy to crawl under the train to make it to the bus stop in time. But the girl was reluctant, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer tells KFSN-TV (Fresno).
“The daughter was reluctant at first but upon being encouraged by the mother to cross the track, she too made her way underneath the rail car and attempted to reach the other side.”
A 12-year-old neighbor witnessed what happened next.
“And the girl went under, the train started moving, and she got caught, and she started getting dragged.”
Authorities estimate that she was pulled about 500 feet, according to Newsweek.
— Vanessa Vasconcelos (@VanessaABC30) December 18, 2018
Dyer said that Fresno police had no choice but to arrest the girl’s mother, whom they say had made her kids crawl under trains stopped on the tracks on at least seven different occasions.
“I hope people understand that there is a balance that we have to achieve in law enforcement. No one wanted to arrest the mother for this crime. But the law is the law. It’s an unfortunate tragedy, but at the end of the day this was preventable.”
As it turns out, the family was on the radar of California’s Child Protective Services, which, according to records, had made several visits to the family’s home. It remains unclear, as of this writing, why they visited the home or what violations, if any, were found there.
#BreakingNews police say 44 y/o Joy Collins was arrested and booked into the Fresno County jail for felony charges of child endangerment, after police say she encouraged her daughter to cross the train tracks. Police say Collins bailed out this morning. pic.twitter.com/THvRiT0UXN
— Angelica Lei Lani (@AngelicaLeilani) December 18, 2018
Meanwhile, neighbors say that those railroad tracks are a safety hazard.
Neighbor David Hunt says his 10-year-old son Andre often played on the tracks.
“He’s non-stop crying, all he’s saying is it could’ve been him, it could’ve been him.”
Hunt would like to see fences or barriers put up at the tracks. However, Fresno police say that the lack of barriers isn’t the problem; it’s parents and kids who ignore the “No Trespassing” signs that are already up at the tracks.