Child killed after train strikes minivan waiting online for Christmas lights display in California

An evening of holiday cheer and celebration quickly turned into tragedy for one California family when a passenger train suddenly struck the minivan they’d been seated in while waiting to drive through a popular Christmas lights display.

A child inside the vehicle was killed during the crash, which unfolded Tuesday evening in Fresno before 6 p.m., ABC30 reported. The minivan was stopped on the tracks, waiting to turn into the beloved Christmas Tree Lane attraction, when it was hit by an Amtrak passenger train carrying about 50 people.

“Unfortunately, as a result of the impact of the train colliding with the vehicle, a small child was ultimately killed,” Lt. Andre Benson told KSEE-TV.

“We have investigators from the traffic unit on the scene right now trying to determine exactly how the vehicle became stuck on the tracks.”

The other three people inside the van were taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries.

Tuesday marked the first night of Fresno’s festive Christmas Tree Lane, made up of 100 decorated homes and 300 Christmas trees on a portion of Van Ness Boulevard. Decorating the stretch of road has been a city tradition for 98 years now, though some changes have been made for 2020 due to the global health pandemic.

Visitors, which often number well into the thousands, once allowed to walk through the Christmas decorations, are now required to remain in their vehicles in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

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