Fresno mom arrested after 8-year-old daughter hit and killed by train

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A mother is charged with child endangerment after her eight-year-old daughter was killed after being dragged by a moving train in Fresno.

Authorities say the mother encouraged the girl to cross under the train while it was stopped.

“I heard the little girl say mom, mom! Then I heard the train start up and I told my boyfriend to go help because there was a kid under the train,” Crista Miller said.

Neighbors in this area near Belmont and Diana still shaken up after seeing eight-year-old Joyanna Harris killed by a train Monday evening.

“This is awful, this is terrible,” Harris said. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life and I’m probably never going to be able to get the images out of my head.”

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says Joyanna’s mother, 44-year-old Joy Collins, was afraid of missing their bus and told her two children to cross the tracks, by climbing underneath the train, which was stopped.

Her son made it through.

“The daughter was reluctant at first but upon being encouraged by the mother to cross the track she too made her way underneath the railcar and attempted to get to the other side,” Chief Dyer said.

Police say the train had only stopped for a period of 12 seconds when it started up again.

Police say Joyanna was lodged underneath and say the train dragged Joyanna for about 500 feet.

“The mother did run and followed the train as it proceeded southbound and at one point the train stopped again and she at that point pulled her daughter from underneath the train,” Chief Dyer said.

Police say after speaking with Collins, they learned this wasn’t the first time she and her children had crossed over the train.

“We arrested the mother for felony child endangerment but also we know that she is hurting,” said Chief Dyer.

Another neighbor says that he’s seen about five people hit or dragged by trains since he moved to the area about a year ago.

Fresno’s Police Chief adds that the mother had prior contact with child and protective services, but did not elaborate.

The child who made it through the train without incident is now in protective services custody.

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