|Ottawa Citizen 7 February 1928|
AUTO CARRIED FOR 500 FEET ON RAIL TRACK
Romeo J. St. Denis, 425 Clarence Street, Critically Injured in Smash at Parkdale Ave. Crossing.
Slim Hopes Are Held for his recovery Eye-Witness Thinks He, Was Trying 'to Get Across Track Ahead of Oncoming Train.
Mr. Romeo J. St. Denis, 425 Clarence street, manager and part owner of the Capital Brass Works, 630 Parkdale avenue, was critically injured about eleven thirty o'clock this morning when a combined truck and roadster Chevrolet car which he was driving was struck by the incoming C.N.Ry Pembroke train at the Parkdale avenue level crossing.
When the locomotive, travelling at about twenty-five miles an hour, struck the automobile it was carried fully six hundred feet along the track before the engine was brought to a stop.
The train crew found Mr. St. Denis on the pilot of the engine, covered with debris of the wrecked car, and he was carried on board the train arid given first aid by Dr. M. J. Malojney, M.P, of Eganville, who was a passenger on the train, and was brought on to the Central Station.
There he was placed in Hulse Bros, ambulance and rushed to the Civic Hospital, where Drs. F. W. McKinnon and W. C, McCarthy, who are in attendance, hold out but slim hopes for his recovery.
Last Rites of Church.When picked up, Mr. St. Denis was in an unconscious condition and at the hospital he was found in have sustained a compound fracture of the right leg, a bad scalp wound, and is believed to be suffering from internal hemmorrhage. So serious was his condition that the last rites of the church were administered to him.
How the accident happened is not quite clear, but the engineer of the train, Mr. Harry Brown, 19 Echo Drive, stated that when they were some distance from the crossing, where the wigwag signal was operating, and while the locomotive bell was sounding its warning, his fireman, Mr. D. Milligan, shouted to him that an auto was approaching the crossing from the north side. He applied the brakes, but too late to avoid hitting the automobile, which was squarely on the tracks when the engine arrived .at the crossing, and which was carried some distance before the train was brought to a stop.
Story of Eye-Witness.Mr. St. Denis was travelling south in his car en route to the Capital Brass Works, which are located about sixty feet south of the CNR. tracks, and according to a teamster, Mr. R. B. Kelly, Grant street, whom Mr. St. Denis had passed, travelling at a fair rate of speed, the driver of the car was apparently trying to get across the tracks before the train arrived. He does not think the car stalled in any way.
How Mr. St. Denis escaped instant death in view of the wreck of his car which was smashed almost to kindling wood, is a wonder to the railway authorities, as is also the fact that his unconscious body was found on the pilot of the engine. It is surmised that when Mr. St. Denis awoke to his danger, and saw the oncoming locomotive upon him, he must have tried to jump from his car and landed on the pilot of the engine, as there was no trace of blood on the wreckage of the auto, when examined afterwards.
Fireman Milligan, of the C.N.R., stated that when he saw the automobile it was on the south side of the tracks and was travelling fast for the crossing apparently in an endeavor to get across before the train arrived, and he shouted a warning to his engineer who at once applied the emergency brakes, but he was too late to avoid the accident.
He said the engineer had whistled for the crossing and that the bell was ringing as they approached it.
The conductor in charge of the train was Mr. J. Marsh, 65 Aylmer avenue, and he assisted in carrying the badly injured man on to the train, and with Dr. J. M. Maloney, MP., rendered what first aid was possible.
Mr. J. Robinson, partner of Mr. St. Denis in the Capital Brass Works, stated he was at a loss to explain how the accident occurred, as there is a clear view of approaching trains at the Parkdale avenue crossing, and Mr. St. Denis had been travelling this route for some years and knew the times at which trains could be expected. He staled that after the locomotive hit the Chevrolet, it was carried in a mass of splintered wreckage fully five hundred feet down the track, before the train came to a standstill.