Shequllia Galloway rarely lets her four daughters play outside their Birmingham, Alabama, home, but around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday she let them go out for spring break while she prepared dinner, she told WBRC. A train rumbled as it moved down the railroad tracks behind their home.
Then she heard her 7-year-old daughter, Curteria Thomas, scream.
“And when I looked up, I saw my oldest daughter had her by the hand and Curteria was being dragged up the track and my daughter was trying to help her from under there,” Galloway told WBRC. The train had been stopped on the tracks when Curteria crawled through a hole in a fence and began playing underneath it, Galloway said. The train backed up, trapping Curteria.
Galloway couldn’t yank Curteria out from under the train, but a neighbor came to the rescue, pulling the 7-year-old free.
“She said, ‘Mommy, stop crying. God’s got me.’ ” Galloway said. “That’s all she kept saying … that’s all she kept saying.”
Four Birmingham Police Department officers, part of a high-intensity policing team, were on patrol one street over when they heard the commotion and rushed to help, reported The Birmingham News.
“We literally got to her in 30 seconds and then the medics pulled up. They were right there too – that just shows you how God works,” Officer Ivy Edmond said. “He put us in that spot. Everybody in the neighborhood came together and helped us. It really felt like a family.”
Curteria was taken to Children’s of Alabama Hospital in critical condition with non-life threatening injuries, reported WIAT.
All four officers were touched by Curteria’s demeanor after the accident, they told The Birmingham News.
“Her smiled just warmed my heart,” Officer Darion Lewis told the publication. They decided to do something to help out the family, collecting donations from fellow officers and later visiting Curteria’s hospital room with balloons, crayons, toys, activity books, paint sets, snacks – and a princess tiara.
"We know the child's life is going to change forever and we just wanted to help make it smoother,'' Officer Joseph Hassell said.
Galloway later wrote on Facebook that the neighbor who pulled Curteria from beneath the train also visited her in the hospital. “To see the face of the man WHO LITERALLY Saved YOUR CHILD'S LIFE IS WAS THE Biggest GIFT OF ALL,” Galloway wrote.
She also posted photos of Curteria, wearing her tiara, standing beside her hospital bed with the help of a child-size walker.