Child killed in Amtrak train crash as family was waiting to see Christmas lights

FRESNO, California -- Tuesday night was supposed to be a time for joy: the kickoff to Christmas Tree Lane's twinkling lights, holiday music, and wooden reindeer.

But the holiday cheer has turned into a memory of pain for one grieving family in California.

A child was killed after a family's minivan was hit by an Amtrak train as the family waited in line to enter the lane.

The impact sent three other family members, including the child's mother, to the hospital with minor injuries.

The devastating turn of events happened when the family's car got stuck on the tracks while waiting just feet from the entrance to the iconic holiday light display.

The Amtrak train, which had 50 passengers inside, crashed into the stuck vehicle.

First responders arrived and provided aid, but the child died.

Authorities are not releasing the age, gender or name of the child.

None of the Amtrak passengers were injured. The train was headed to Bakersfield, California.


Investigators are trying to determine how the minivan got stuck on the tracks.

Stunned witnesses shared their shock and grief after helplessly watching the van get stuck on the tracks.

One of them said traffic lining up to enter the event just feet from the railroad crossing was backed up for blocks.

The traffic congestion is a known problem for those who visit Christmas Tree Lane every year.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.