Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1899, September 2 - Crossing Accident CPR Carleton Place sub, Mechanicsville, one pedestrian killed

Ottawa Citizen 4 September 1899

Mrs. Gosselin, of Hintonburg, Killed by a Train,
Pembroke Local Struck Her on the Mechanicsville Crossing.

Mrs. Annie Gosselin, of Center street. Hintonburg, was struck and instantly killed by the C.P.R. local train from Pembroke, due in the city at 11 o'clock, Saturday morning. The accident happened at the crossing put over Center street by the railway company last fall.
The victim was the wife of Jacob Gosselin, laborer, and she was about 35 years of age. She leaves no family. In Hintonburg, Bell's Corners, Merivale and neighboring villages deceased was well known, as she had lived about the locality for tbe past twelve years.
A Shocking Sight.
The body of the unfortunate woman was found lying forty-five feet from the center of the railway crossing at Center street, and presented a most shocking appearance. It was evident that the train had been running at a high rate of speed when the woman was struck, otherwise she could not have been hurled such a distance. Both arms and one leg were broken, while the head, which had first come in contact with the solid rock at the side of the track was shattered like an egg shell, while blood, brains and hair were on the rocks for a space of nearly ten square feet. The left side of the forehead was completely smashed, the eye being destroyed, while the jaws were almost torn from their sockets. The body lay on the right side, between two large points of rock, with the right arm under the head. It was identified by Mrs. Jane Shorey, who knew the deceased well.
The Cause of the Accident.
It is stated on reliable authority that there can be no blame attached to the engineer of the train for the accident. The deceased was seen by several people in the village a few hours previous to her death, it is alleged, in a state of intoxication. She had started to go from Hintonburg to Mechanicsville, and when crossing the track, although the whistle was blown and the bell rung, she paid no attention, but deliberately walked in front of the oncoming train to her death. There is a steep down-grade at the point where the accident occurred, and the railway runs through a rock cut about sixteen feet deep. The crossing is also cut through a ledge of rock about twelve feet high, and it would be almost impossible to see a train coming from the west until within a few feet of the track. The noise, however, would be sufficient warning for a person in normal condition to look out for danger, and there is ample space to stand at the side of the track and allow a train to pass. It is stated by people residing in the vicinity that the trains pass this point at a rate of from thirty to forty miles per hour and do not-perceptibly slacken speed until at Mason's crossing, which is the next one below the one where the accident occurred.
Inquest Opened.
A coroner's inquest was opened Saturday afternoon at two o'clock on the spot where the deceased came to her death. Coroner Freeland presided, and Constable John Thomson swore in a jury composed of the following: Robert Morgan (foreman), Arthur Sills, James Byers, Alex. Dynes, William Paul, Joseph Pelkey, Eugene Provincelle, Regis Potters, Archibald McPhee, James Daley, Geo. McGregor and Peter Chause.
The jury viewed the remains and adjourned until three o'clock this afternoon, when it will meet again at Byers' hotel in Hintonburg. The body was taken to S.M. Rogers' morgue on Rideau street, to be prepared for burial.

Ottawa Citizen 5 September 1899

Gates Are Needed at Mechanicsvillc Crossing
Evidence that the Woman Was Not Sober When Accident Occurred.

The adjourned inquest touching the death of Mrs. Annie Gosselin, who was killed at the C. P. R. crossing in Mechanicsville on Saturday last, was resumed yesterday afternoon at Byer's hotel, in Hintonburg.
Engineer John Dudley, who was driving the engine which struck the deceased. testified that as the train was coming into Ottawa about eleven o'clock on Saturday and when within about 150 feet of the crossing he saw the deceased start to cross the tracks. The train was running at its usual rate of speed when passing this point which was from twenty to twenty-five miles an hour. The steam was shut off at the time and there was considerable pressure from the air brake. Seeing that the woman would almost inevitably be struck he at once applied the brakes with their full power, or what is known as the emergency brake. The train was brought to a standstill before Mason's crossing was reached or in other words, within a few hundred yards of where the accident had occurred. He did not see the woman struck since the engine hid the point of contact from him, it being on the opposite side. He further stated that the whistle had been blown before coming to this crossing and that the bell was ringing at the time the accident occurred. This latter statement was amply substantiated by other witnessess.
The doings of the unfortunate woman during the morning were related by other witnesses.
About seven o'clock on the morning of her death she went to Mrs. Jane Shoren's house and talked strangely. She had a mark over her right eye and another on her right cheek, which she said had been received in a fall. She was later seen by Hintonburg residents coming from Mechanicsvllle with a pall of beer and acting as though intoxicated. Shortly before eleven o'clock she was again seen coming from the direction with another pall of beer, and apparently much more intoxicated than before. Just before she came to the track she seemed to be uncertain as to which way to go and upon being asked where she was going replied, "I am going to hell." She then continued her way towards Hintonhurg via Second street. She had gone a short distance across the track when she turned and retraced her steps. At this time the train was rushing down the track, but she paid no heed to it. When a little way past the center of the track she stooped over as though looking for something and was in this position when the engine struck her, hurling her head foremost upon the rocks and shattering her skull like an egg shell.
After hearing the evidence the jury upon brief consideration returned the following verdict:-
"We find that Annie Gosselin came to her death by reason of injuries resulting from being struck by train No. 12 on the C P.R. at Second street crossing, Merhanicsville, on September 2nd. at about the hour of eleven o'clock in the morning.
"For the protection of life and property, and owing to the dangerous nature of this crossing, we recommend that gates be placed there and maintained by the railway company."
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