A 19-year-old aspiring model was hit by a train during a risky photoshoot, just weeks after she found out that she was pregnant and days before her 20th birthday (photo below).
Fredzania "Zanie" Thompson of Navasota, Texas, was posing for photos March 10 on an intersection of train tracks in the city when a freight train barreled into her and killed her, reports The Eagle. Thompson was reportedly watching for a train on one set of tracks with her back turned toward the other. When she tried to cross the tracks to avoid one of the trains, the other hit her, and she died on the way to the hospital.
Officials stopped traffic in the area for more than five hours while they investigated, notes The Navasota Examiner.
"Railroad tracks are never an appropriate location for any other activity than running trains, in fact, railroad tracks are private property," Union Pacific spokesman Jeff De Graff told The Examiner. "Any person not with the railroad that is on the tracks is considered trespassing, is subject to citation or other legal recourse and, beyond just that, it is incredibly dangerous which we can see in this instance."
De Graff said that the operator of the Union Pacific train that struck Thompson saw her and the photographer, switched on the emergency brake and blared the horn at the pair to alert them. However, a fully-loaded freight train can take more than a mile to come to a complete stop.
"If you think you are quick enough to get out of the way of a moving train then you are probably going to guess wrong," said De Graff. "We encourage people to stay away from train tracks, we reach out to numerous communities, including their photographing community, to explain how dangerous it is to try to take pictures on the railroad tracks and things like that."
Thompson was reportedly a star athlete at her high school and earned several athletic scholarships but ultimately decided to put her education on pause to pursue her dream of professional modeling, reports The Eagle.
"She was more interested in modeling," her mother, Hakamie Stevenson, told The Eagle. "That's definitely what she wanted to do. It's what she had started to do the day she was deceased."
Thompson was four weeks pregnant when she died. Two weeks before the tragic accident, she reportedly called her fiance, 25-year-old Darnell Chatman, crying tears of joy and telling him that he was "going to be a dad again," Chatman said.
The grieving fiance has a 7-year-old son who saw Thompson as a motherly figure and was deeply disturbed by what had happened.
"He woke up crying this morning," Chatman said of his son. "He thought [her death] was a dream."
Chatman said that Thompson "had the most beautiful smile" and would want to be remembered for being "a kind and caring person.