|Ottawa Citizen 9 January 1986|
Trucker leaps just before train crash
An Ottawa transport driver narrowly escaped death Wednesday by leaping from the cab of his - truck just as it was struck by a VIA passenger train at a Hwy. 17 railroad crossing near Renfrew.
None of the passengers aboard VIA's Vancouver-bound Canadian was injured as the train plowed into the front of the truck at 2:15 p.m., destroying the cab and ripping open the front of the trailer.
Provincial police in Renfrew believe that the driver, John Williams, of Fox Hollow Crescent, jumped from the cab of the truck moments before impact.
Williams was treated at a Renfrew hospital before being transferred to Ottawa Civic Hospital where he underwent surgery late Wednesday. He received multiple injuries, including fractures and a concussion, but they are not considered life threatening. -
Hospital officials said Williams was still in a surgical recovery room this morning and his condition was not immediately available.
Hwy. 17 was reopened at 2:35 a.m. today, 12 hours after the accident. Motorists had been detoured through the hamlet of Haley Station, about 10 kilometres west of Renfrew.
Debris from the destroyed truck and its trailer unit, which was loaded with bales of paper, littered the road.
Railway crews were on the scene today with a crane brought from Montreal to lift the train's steam generator unit, located behind the lead engine, back on the track.
OPP Cpl. Bob Bittorf, of the Renfrew detachment, said the impact of the collision knocked the unit off the tracks.
The train continued about half a kilometre after the collision before coming to a stop.
Train passengers were bused to Sudbury where they were to continue their trip aboard another train.
A damage estimate to the train was not available today.
It left Montreal at 10:35 a.m., stopping in Ottawa at 1 p.m., before continuing west.