|Ottawa Citizen 5 November 1964|
Train slams auto, 2 die
A Brockville bound CPR train slammed into the side of a car at the Scott - Northwestern Avenue level crossing yesterday, killing a 29 -year -old mother and her youngest son and injuring a second child.
Mrs. Shirley Levesque of 61 Sherbrooke Ave. died en route to hospital, just minutes after she was removed from the front of her battered car. She was found with the auto's windshield frame wrapped around her neck.
Son dies in hospital
Charles, three, died in Civic Hospital this morning. He was removed from the back seat of the car, which was pushed 115 feet down the track.
Adele Leblanc, three-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rheal Leblanc of 45 Sherbrooke St., the third occupant of the car, was thrown 60 feet by the impact. She was found lying in grass beside the track and taken to Civic Hospital for treatment of multiple bruises. Her condition is not serious.
The Northwestern Avenue level crossing is not equipped with warning lights or wigwag.
The accident happened at 4.45 p.m. and witnesses said engineer Vernon Dier, 53, of 36 Armstrong St. blew the whistle and rang the bell loudly. CPR officials said the train's speed was 38 mph.
Shortly before the impact Mrs. Levesque had left the home of fellow Bell Telephone operator Mrs. Doreen Foley of 211 Northwestern Ave.
Coroner Dr. W. Thomas Kendall said an inquest will be held.
The husband and father of the victims, Charles Levesque, is employed by the department of mines. There are two surviving children; Danielle, eight and Pierre, six.
Ottawa Citizen 5 December 1964
Rail crossing tragedy
Jury urges 25 mph limit
A coroner's jury, alarmed at the speeds at which trains are allowed to travel through the city, recommended Tuesday night that a train speed limit of 25 miles per hour be established in residential areas.
The inquest into the death of Mrs. Charles Levesque, 29, was told that speeds of 45 mph in residential districts and up to 75 mph inside the city limits were permitted.
It was the second time in a week that a coroner's jury has called for reduction in train speeds. Acting on the death of a boy at a Stittsville crossing, a jury recommend ed Thursday that speeds be reduced to 20 mph while passing through Stittsville.
The Levesque accident is one of at least six area railway-crossing collisions that have taken the lives of a minimum of 15 people in the last year.
Mrs. Levesque died in hospital Nov. 4 of multiple injuries after the car she was driving was hit broadside by a Canadian Pacific passenger train at a level crossing on Northwestern Avenue between Premier and Scott Streets.
Her son Charles, age three, was also killed in the collision and another child, four-year-old Adele Leblanc, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Raoul Leblanc of 45 Sherbrooke St., was injured.
The only warnirg at the crossing is wooden signs on both sides of the track.
The jury found that the cause of the fatal accident lay mainly in the distraction of Mrs. Levesque's attention from the railway crossing.
The inquest found that a major cause of her distraction could have been a multiple intersection just 100 feet north of the crossing where Premier Street and Northwestern Avenue intersection.
The jury felt that the heavy S o'clock traffic on Scott Street, just south of the tracks, may also have drawn her attention.
The five - man jury recommended that flasher signals with bells be mandatory at all level crossings within the city. The findings also suggested that the intersection where the accident occurred be straightened out to eliminate funnelling of five lanes of traffic into two at the crossing.
Several witnesses who saw the accident said that Mrs. Levsque was driving very slowly and looking straight ahead whea the train slammed into the side of her 1958 model car. Whistle heard
George Smith of 306 Keyworth Ave. said be was travelling west on Scott Street when he heard the train whistle. He turned right onto Northwestern Avenue and stopped in front of the crossing to wait for the train to pass.
He then noticed Mrs. Levesque's car proceeding across Premier Street towards the crossing, moving very slowly. She was looking straight ahead. She drove onto the tracks and the train hit the car on the driver's side throwing it into the ditch.
Engineer of the train involved, Vernon Dier, of 36 Armstrong St. said that bis speed shortly before the accident was just under 35 mph.
He said he noticed Mrs. Levesque's car approaching the track very slowly and "I thought she was stopping. But when we got up real close she seemed to speed up. I threw on the emergency brake and then the train hit the car."
It took the train 640 feet to stop which Mr. Dier claims is less than usual.
Mr. Dier also said that just before he put on the brake he had a glimpse of Mrs. Levesque. "She was looking straight ahead, he said.
Other witnesses stated that the train's whistle was blowing loudly for some distance before the crossing and could be heard clearly.
Samuel Degagne, who lives right across from the crossing at 1752 Scott St., said he was in his kitchen when he heard the train'a whistle. When he got to the front of his house the train was still some distance from the crossing.
He also observed the Levesque car approaching the tracks. "It was running very slow," he said. "I could have walked faster."
Coroner Dr. W. T. Kendall was critical of the Northwestern Avenue's southern approach to the crossing which makes a swing to the left and joins up with the northbound lane.
He also felt that a signal device was needed at the crossing, which is used by a great many government workers coming to and from Tunney's Pasture.
Thor Neilson, director ot the city's traffic engineering department, told the inquest that a survey of the crossing bd been made in late 1959 or early 1960 and it was decided that flash signals weren't required.
He said the factors which require the installation of signals at a track, such as poor visibility and heavy traffic, weren't evident at this crossing when the survey was taken.
Such signals, he said, were the joint responsibility of the city, railway and board of transport, who share the costs. Any one of thece three departments can take the initiative towards installing warning signals and the others would likely follow.