8-year-old girl who was ordered by mother to crawl under stationary freight train killed as it started moving

44-year-old Joy Collins, of Fresno, has been charged with child neglect likely to cause great bodily injury or death, as well as trespassing in the incident


                            8-year-old girl who was ordered by mother to crawl under stationary freight train killed as it started moving

A California mom who ordered her young daughter to crawl under a stationary freight train so they wouldn't miss their bus has been charged after the young girl died when the train started moving while she was still under it. 44-year-old Joy Collins, of Fresno, has been charged with child neglect likely to cause great bodily injury or death in the tragic incident which claimed the life of her eight-year-old daughter, Joyanna Harris.

According to Your Central Valley, the incident occurred at around 6 pm on December 18 in the area of Belmont Avenue near Effie Street in Fresno. A freight train that was about a mile long slowed down and stopped, prompting Collins and one of her sons to crawl under the train to get to the other side.

Collins was booked into the Fresno County Jail and later released after posting bail (Source: Fresno Police Department)
Collins was booked into the Fresno County Jail and later released after posting bail (Source: Fresno Police Department)

It was then Joyanna's turn to cross, with the 44-year-old reportedly yelling at her daughter to "hurry up" despite the girl's reluctance. The girl eventually complied and began to crawl under, which is when the train started to move once again — it had stopped for all of 12 seconds.

Speaking about the gruesome incident, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the eight-year-old got stuck under the train and was dragged about 500 feet under it before Collins managed to pull her daughter out from underneath. By the time officers arrived at the scene, she was already dead and found to have traumatic injuries including being partially dismembered.

Citing a witness, Dyer said at a press conference that Collins had told her children to "hurry... or they would miss the bus." Reconstructing the events, he explained, "The mother then told the 9-year-old son to cross the railroad track. The son then crawled underneath one of the rail cars to get over to the west side."

He said that Joyanna was not willing to cross but that "upon being encouraged by the mother to cross the track, she too made her way underneath the rail car and attempted to get to the other side."

Dyer said he was aware that the 44-year-old was "suffering greatly" but that the "law is the law." He said, "A mother placed her daughter in a position where she could be seriously injured or killed, and that’s what we have to look at. We have a responsibility to hold that person accountable," adding, "No one last night wanted to arrest the mother for this crime, but the law is the law."

It was revealed that Collins confessed to going under the train at least seven other times in the past. She also reportedly has a criminal history related to check fraud and has had past contacts with Child Protective Services, with her son currently in their care. Besides the child neglect charges, Collins was also charged with trespassing and booked into the Fresno County Jail on the night of Monday, December 17. However, she later posted bond and was released.