|Ottawa Citizen 9 May 1964|
Youths 'freeze' on tracks as train bears down
An 18-year-old youth with a sparkling new diamond ring in his shirt pocket Friday afternoon nearly didn't get to present it to his intended that night.
John W. Martin of 1771 Hutton Ave. was driving happily along Acres Sideroad with four teenage companions when his not-too-new car stalled on a level crossing.
A CPR westbound passenger train was bearing down with its lights flashing and horn hooting.
What happened next was best explained by John. "We panicked," he said.
With John on the front seat were William Hoag, 17. of 585 O'Connor St. and Diane Smithson, 17, of 3430 Carling Ave. In back were Diane's sister, Lynda, 16, and Lyn Murdock, 15. of 224 Grandview Rd. John was driving the girls home from school.
Not all doors on the car worked properly which added to the tension and confusion as all five scrambled to get out.
"I was dumbfounded. I couldn't believe it," said Lyn.
Got school books
Lynda said she thought the car wasn't in any danger and stayed long enough to collect all her school books. After everyone was out, the two boys tried to push the car across the tracks but it was still in gear. John ran to shift it out of gear but they still couldn't budge it.
When the big diesel was only yards away "we froze, we couldn't move," William said. "We just stood there looking at the train."
Outbound trains have started to pick up speed by this point and are usually travelling at 50-miles-plus an hour. Acres Sideroad is only one block from where a milk truck driver was killed in a level crossing crash last Monday.
Dove into ditch
Just in time, the youths dove into a ditch and were able to see the diesel catch the front end of the car "and toss it higher than the train."
William was cut on the head by a flying piece of metal and the car's heavy generator landed within inches of John's head.
The first thing John thought of when the car landed was the ring. It was in his shirt which lay on the front seat.
When he presented it to Ada Boselli of 507 Chapel St. Friday night he had more than one reason for having his heart in his month.
Lynda summed up the feelings of all when she said: "From now on we go either by bus or bicycle."