Girl, 8, fatally struck by train; witnesses shaken: 'Nothing could prepare me for what I've seen'

FRESNO, Calif. -- The family of an 8-year-old girl killed by a train is still trying to make sense of it all. Police say children were playing on the tracks but the family is saying the girl wasn't in that group.

But those children likely saw the moments the child and her mother were crossing the tracks.

Fresno Police are still investigating the deadly accident. It is a tragedy that has shaken many.

"My head is still spinning trying to grasp what was going on other than that I'm thanking God that my kids all made it home tonight," said Fresno resident David Hunt.

Still in shock, Hunt describes seeing the unthinkable sight of the little girl trapped beneath a train.

"What I saw when I walked up there I was not prepared for. There was nothing that could prepare me for what I've seen," said Hunt.

It was just before 6 p.m. Monday when Fresno Police were called to the BNSF tracks at Diana and Belmont in Central Fresno.

They say though they're still gathering details surrounding the circumstances. Witnesses tell them several children were playing on the tracks while a freight train was stopped.

"When the train started to take off, she got caught on the train and was dragged for about 100 yards," said Lt. Gerardo Chamalbide.

A visibly upset Hunt says his 10-year-old son, Andre, was one of the children playing on the tracks and his 13-year-old daughter was nearby.

"He's non-stop crying. All hes saying is it could've been him, it could've been him," he said.

Hunt and his family moved to the area last year and since then he's seen five accidents involving pedestrians and trains.

Although "no trespassing" warnings are on the tracks, David Hunt is hopeful barriers can be added for safety.

"Hopefully she didn't die in vain and this will be the spark we need to get it started," he said.

The BNSF Railway tells Action News by phone that it's up to the state public utilities commission to place barriers where they deem necessary.

The railway added that they want to remind parents to discuss the dangers surrounding train crossings.

They say the same way you tell your children not to play in the street, you should tell them the same regarding tracks and this accident could have been avoided.

An investigation is underway to see if criminal charges will be pursued.
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