Fredzania Thompson, 19, died on Friday afternoon after being struck near the intersection of Hollister and Lee Street in downtown Navasota, police said.
The teen had been standing between two sets of tracks when a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) train approached and she moved out of the way onto another track.
Thompson was not aware there was a Union Pacific train approaching in the opposite direction and ended up stuck. The photographer was not hurt in the accident.
Union Pacific spokesman Jeff De Graff told the Navasota Examiner that the train crew had alerted them with the horn as they approached them and began the emergency stop process.
“Basically, you have two railroad tracks there, one is Burlington Northern to the west and one is Union Pacific to the east, and she was in between the two tracks,” Navasota Assistant City Manager Shawn Myatt said.
“Burlington Northern had a train on their track coming and she turned back to the east to walk across the Union Pacific track and walked right in front of the Union Pacific train that was heading south.”
The incident occurred before 1 p.m. and she was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Authorities stopped traffic in Navasota for five hours following the accident as they conducted an investigation.
The Union Pacific train had been traveling from Oklahoma to Beaumont and had 101 cars carrying grain. The speed of the train on impact is unknown, but officials said a train traveling 50 mph would need more than a mile to come to a full stop, the Examiner reported.
Thompson’s mother, Hakamie Stevenson, told The Eagle newspaper that Fredzania, who went by “Zanie,” was a student at Blinn College in Bryan, but wanted to put her education on hold to pursue modeling.
Zanie, who would have turned 20 on Monday, was a 2015 graduate of Navasota High School where she had scholarships for being a star volleyball player.
Stevenson said her daughter was known as a role model and a leader to her younger siblings and her friends knew her as a hair and makeup wiz.
Thompson was also engaged to her 25-year-old boyfriend, Darnell Chatman.
Chatman said the couple had just recently found out they were expecting a child together and she was four weeks pregnant at the time of the tragedy.
On Monday, friends, family and other mourners gathered at the site of the accident to pay their tributes to the teen on her birthday.
Loved ones also took to Facebook to share heartbreaking posts in memory of the teen.
“Happy Birthday BabyGirl. We gonna miss you Zanie, just watch over us, I love you cousin,” one person wrote.
A GoFundMe page has also been launched to raise money for her funeral.
The funeral will be held in Brosig Auditorium in Navasota on Saturday at 11 a.m. A graveside service will take place at Oakland Cemetery.