|Ottawa Citizen 29 December 1989|
Driver survives train crash
For a split second Thursday, Todd Sterritt didn't think he would live to see 1990.
As his car slid towards a westbound VIA Rail train, the 19-year-old Almonte man didn't think he had a prayer.
His small car hit the moving train but Sterritt walked away from the collision. He was treated at Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital for minor cuts.
"It's amazing he wasn't killed or seriously injured," said Const. Neil Fennell of the Ontario Pro vincial Police in Perth.
Sterritt said he was going to get gas for his snowmobile when the collision occurred at about 1 p.m.
"You can't see the crossing because of bushes. When I got around the bushes, it was too late. I heard the horn of the train, hit the brakes and slid right into it.
"I guess I was meant to see the new year," Sterritt said.
A month ago, Frank Somerville of Lanark was killed at the same unprotected level crossing, on Ashton Station Road, 15 kilometres west of Ottawa.
Ottawa Citizen 30 December 1989
Crash survivor blames brush for obstructing view of railway tracks
Todd Sterritt, 19, who walked away from his demolished car after it struck a VIA Rail train Thursday, says brush impeding a driver's view of the tracks should be cut to prevent a similar mishap.
Sterritt said he didn't see the train nor hear a whistle as it crossed the Ashton Station Road "until it was too late. I hit the brakes and I rammed the train."
The Almonte man was at home Friday nursing his cuts and bruises and thanking his stars he's alive to talk about the mishap. His car, a subcompact, is beyond repair.
Sterritt attributed his walking away from the scene of the wreckage to wearing his seatbelt.
Only a month ago, the driver of a truck was killed at the same junction.
Police said Friday that they still haven't been able to talk to a passenger who was injured in that crash.
Ontario Provincial Police in Perth, who investigated both accidents, said there has been no move to have the brush cut down.
Note. Colin Churcher subsequently visited this site and a slow order was issued - the line was abandoned shortly thereafter.