|Ottawa Citizen 30 August 1986|
Couple, grandchildren die in pre-school outing
CARLETON PLACE An Almonte couple and their two grandchildren were killed Friday afternoon when a Sudbury-bound VIA Rail passenger train smashed into their car at a level crossing three kilometres east of here.
Dead are Stanley John Taylor and his wife Joan Norma Taylor, both 64, Caroline Moxley, 6, and Graham Moxley, 4.
The youngsters were the only children of the Taylors' daughter Jill and her husband Robert Moxley, of R.R. 1, Almonte.
Const. Neil Fennell of the OPP's Perth detachment said the accident occurred at 12:55 p.m. Friday while the Taylor car was travelling south towards Hwy. 7 on County Rd. 17.
Travelling at about 110 kmh, the train hit the car broadside and dragged it about 20 pole lengths down the track.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation, and no decision has been made about an inquest. Driving conditions were ideal, with clear skies and a dry, paved road.
Fennell said the car was so badly smashed that it took police and Beckwith Twp. firemen several hours to get the victims out.
The children's aunt, Susan Moxley said the four were headed for a drive in the country.
"They were going to stay the night at their grandparents as a final treat before the beginning of school.
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Beverly Smith, manager of Via Rail's Ontario public affairs, said the train involved was VIA's Transcontinental No. 1.
It left Montreal Friday morning and was bound for the west coast. None of the 150 passengers were injured.
Undamaged, the train resumed its trip around 4:30 p.m.
The engineer, pale and shaken would say little about the tragedy. "They just drove in front of us, that's all I can say," he said before driving away.
Hours after most of the wreckage had been towed away, people were still arriving to survey the crash site. They found it still strewn with pieces of wreckage, including a headlight, part of the car's front grille and pieces of the dashboard.
Fennell said this was the first he's ever heard of a fatal accident at the crossing, which is indicated only by a white wooden sign.
A Carleton Place resident, who declined to be identified, said it was not a tricky crossing. "It is a level crossing. You can see quite a ways both ways. What more can they do?
Ottawa Citizen 9 September 1986
Man's hearing impairment may have caused fatal car-train accident
Canadian Transport Commission officials believe an Almonte man's hearing impairment caused the car-train accident that killed four people Aug. 29 near Carleton Place.
Stanley John and Joan Norma Taylor, both 64, and their grandchildren Caroline, 6, and Graham Moxley, 4, were killed when a Sudbury-bound VIA Rail passenger train smashed into their car at a public crossing, which is marked only by a white wooden sign.
"Mr. Taylor was a handicapped driver with a hearing impairment," said Bill Bell, an Almonte resident and engineer with the transport commission.
"It looked to us to be a relatively safe crossing with little or no problems."
Although the investigation into the accident has not been completed, Bell said Canadian Transport Commission officials believe Taylor's hearing impairment may have prevented him from hearing the oncoming train.
Investigators are also returning to the scene to check reports that a cornfield might have impaired his view of the train from one angle, he added.
A Perth OPP spokesman said an inquest will be held but a date has not yet been set.
In the wake of the accident, Bell is helping to organize a seminar to be held Friday by Operation Lifesaver for about 900 schoolchildren in Almonte.
Roger Cyr, national director of the railway safety organization, will speak to schoolchildren at G.L. Comba public school, St. Mary's separate school and Nais-mith Memorial school Friday. He hopes his messages about safety, along with a presentation by CN security police on vandalism and trespassing, will help prevent similar accidents.
CN security police will also attend the seminars to discuss problems such as trespassing and vandalism.
Operation Lifesaver is responsible for public education campaigns on train, car and pedestrian safety, engineering at train crossings and inspections and police enforcement.
Ottawa Citizen 13 November 1986
Mother's plea for safer rail crossing answered by jury
CARLETON PLACE - On behalf of four lost loved ones, Jill Moxley made a poignantly written plea to her peers Wednesday, asking them to help prevent the kind of accident that killed her parents and children.
Four hours later, a coroner's jury answered her, calling for immediate improvements at the level crossing near Carleton Place where the four were killed Aug. 29 when their car was struck by a VIA Rail train.
"We will never know why my parents failed to see the train that killed them," the Almonte-area resident wrote in a letter read at the inquest.
"... What really matters is that everything possible be done to prevent accidents such as this."
Moxley's parents, Almonte residents Stanley John Taylor and Joan Norma Taylor, both 64, and her two children, Caroline, 6, and Graham, 4, were killed at a train crossing marked only by white wooden signs.
The jury made six recommendations, the first being that flashing lights and warning bells be installed immediately at the crossing, which is on County Road 17, about 600 metres from Hwy. 7.
The jury also called for stop signs or reduced-speed signs at level crossings in rural areas, expanded public education and regular inspections of traffic counts and visibility at the crossings.
An engineer with the Canadian Transport Commission, Ian Naish, said after the inquest the jury's recommendation may speed up the process of getting lights and bells installed.
Ottawa resident Richard Moxley, whose brother Robert is married to Jill Moxley, said he was satisfied with the jury's work.
"I think the whole process was a good one today ... a step in the right direction."
The inquest was told the passenger train, which had left Ottawa for North Bay, was travelling at about 110 kmh and had sounded its whistle before crossing the road.
OPP Const. Lloyd Phillips testified the car was struck above the left front tire. It was a cool, sunny day at about 12:55 p.m.
He said there were no signs that the driver, Stanley John Taylor, had tried to brake or make a sudden turn, suggesting that Taylor simply did not see or hear the train.
Phillips also testified that Taylor had a severe hearing impairment caused by nerve damage inflicted during the Second World War.
The inquest also heard that Taylor's view of the train may, have been obscured by a large field of tall corn that bordered the track.
In her letter, in which she apologized for not attending, Moxley wrote:
"My father's hearing was impaired but my mother's was exceptionally good. All the speculation in the world is possible but none is good enough."
Moxley concluded her letter by saying:
"It is unbearable to lose your children and parents like this. It is even more unbearable to think that the authorities could sit back after such a tragedy and not at least try to prevent it from happening to someone else."