Cops: Girl Told by Mom to 'Hurry' Under Train Dies

'Worst thing I've ever seen in my life,' witness says of 8-year-old killed in Fresno, Calif.
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2018 7:27 AM CST
Joy Frances Collins.   (Fresno Police, via Fresno Bee)

(Newser) – Joy Frances Collins didn't want to miss her bus home, so the California mom asked her children to do something they'd done many times before, police say—and now her young daughter is dead. Per Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, Collins, her 9-year-old son, and 8-year-old Joyanna (spelled by some sources as Joy Anna) Harris were headed to a bus stop Monday evening around 6 when a freight train stopped in their path, reports the Fresno Bee. That's when Collins allegedly instructed the kids to crawl underneath the idling train to get to the other side—and even though Joyanna seemed wary about following her brother, who scrambled right underneath, witnesses say Collins yelled at her to "hurry up," and so she did, Dyer says. But as Joyanna was on the tracks, the train suddenly jerked forward and she was dragged a few hundred feet, her mother running behind her, cops say.

By the time Collins managed to pull Joyanna out, she'd suffered severe injuries; it appears she died at the scene. "There was nothing that could prepare me for what I've seen," a local man who lives near the tracks and witnessed the tragic incident tells KFSN. "It's the [worst] thing I've ever seen in my life," another neighbor says, per YourCentralValley.com. Residents say there've been other deaths on those tracks, and that some kind of barrier is needed to keep people away. As for Collins, she'd made her kids go under the train at least seven times before and has had previous interaction with Child Protective Services, Dyer said in a news conference, though he added, "We know that she is hurting." She was arrested Tuesday on felony child endangerment charges, as well as for trespassing, per FOX26. (A 3-year-old boy was killed and his 2-year-old sister injured by a freight train near their home.)

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