Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area 

1925, September 7 - Crossing collision, Rockland, CNR, L'Orignal sub., two dead, three injured

Ottawa Citizen 8 September 1925

Terrible Accident Near Rockland. Another Woman in Critical Condition and Two Men Injured.
Two persons are dead, a third is not expected to live, while two others are also in serious condition from injuries received when a Ford tudor sedan was struck by the C.N.R, Ottawa-Montreal train which left the Capital at noon yesterday, at a level crossing about a mile west of Rockland and about twenty miles from Ottawa.
The Dead.
Joan Auclaire. aged 3 months, of Lachine, Que.
Mrs. Arsidas Auclaire, Lachine, Que.,
Seriously Injured.
Mrs. Daniel Gauron, of Ville St. Pierre, Que.
Mr. Arsidas Auclaire. Laehine. Que., in a critical condition in Hawkesbury hospital.
Mr. Daniel Gauron, in the Montreal General hospital.
Both the auto and the train were east-bound when the accident happened. The automobile party of five had been visiting in the Capital and were returning to their homes. Mr. Gauron was driving the car, and apparently did not realize that there was a train in the vicinity until it had struck the car and scattered its occupants and splinters over a wide area.
Of the five passengers in the auto not a single one escaped serious injury. All were injured about the head, while most of them suffered broken bones and brulses about the limb and body. Mrs. Auclaire's death was due to a fractured skull, while the other three adults are also suffering from similar injury.
Dr. Powers, of Rockland, who accompanied Gauron to Montreal, told The Citizen that when he left the patient in the hospital his condition did not appear to be very serious. Auclaire, however, was in such a serious condition that he was taken only as far as Hawkeshury, where he was reported last night to be in a critical condition.
Coroner Kirby, M.D., of Hawkesburv, opened an inquest in the town hall at Rockland last night, which he adjourned until Monday next at 1 p.m.
All the occupants of the car were carried to the home of Hiram Lafontaine, a short distance east of the crossing, where first aid was rendered to the injured.
Story of Eye-Witness.
Mr. Earl Lafontaine, son of Hiram Lafontaine. one of the few eye-witnesses of the accident, clearly described it to a Citizen representative. He said that the driver of the auto apparently did not see the train, for when he picked him up he said. "My God I must have been sleeping."
Mr. Lafontalne said that he had crossed the railway track at the crossing just a short distance ahead of the auto. He was leading a team of horses along the Montreal road and when crossing noticed the train approaching. He saw the auto slow up as it approached a curve just before the railway crossing and assumed that the driver of the car had also seen the approaching train.

Kemptville Weekly Advance of  10 September included the above verbatim but added:

As the car continued on Mr. Lafontaine swung about to raise his hand as a signal to the driver to stop, but the auto was on the crossing and struck by the front of the engine before he had his hand over his head.
All But Few Inches
The Car, according to Mr. Lafontaine, had cleared the crossing all but a few inches. The front of the engine caught the rear corner of the auto and spun it around a few times on the road. One side was torn completely out of the car, rendering it a total wreck.

Ottawa Citizen 8 September 1925

Mrs. Daniel Gauron, who was injured in the motor accident near Rockland yesterday when the C. N. R. train struck the automobile in which she with four other people were driving home to Lachine. Que., and who is at the home of Mr. Hiram Lafontaine, Rockland, near the scene of the accident, is in too serious a condition to be removed. She is not expected to live, and reports from Rockland state her condition is very serious this afternoon.

Reported in the Eastern Ontario Review verbatim down to "Story of Eye-Witness"
Also reported in the Journal same date

Ottawa Citizen 15 September 1925

Ten Witnesses Heard In Inquiry Into Fatal Smash At Level Crossing Near Rockland.
Ten witnesses who were heard yesterday afternoon at the resumed inquest into the death of the victims of the fatal crossing smash at Rockland failed to throw any new light on how the accident happened. The hearing was held at the Rockland town hall. To allow the driver of the auto in which the accident victims were passengers to give evidence. Coroner H. H. Kirby, M.D., of Hawkesbury, adjourned the inquest until Saturday, September 19.
Those heard yesterday included (he only eye-witness of the accident, Mr. Earl Fontaine, who related his story to The Citizen following its occurrence. Other witnesses were Dr. Powers and Dr. Tweedie, of Rockland, who gave medical evidence, the members of the train crew. Mr. H. Fontaine and Mr. Miron. who reside close to the scene of the smash.
The evidence of the doctors showed that Mrs. Daniel Gauron and baby Jean Auclaire came to their death through fractures of their skulls. Their evidence also showed that other occupants of the car were so badly injured that they were unable to be present at the inquest.
Auto Slowed Up.
Mr. Earl Fontaine told of leading a team of horses in an easterly direction along the Ottawa-Montreal highway and over the C.N.R. crossing about a mile west of Rockland. He was only a short distance ahead of the Ford sdan which was run into by the Ottawa-Montreal afternoon train. Mr. Fontaine noticed the automobile travelling in the direction of Montreal slow up at a curve in the road just before the railway crossing and he thought that it was coming to a stop to allow the train to pass. As the auto went on, he turned around to put up his hands as a signal for it to stop but before he got his hand over his head the car was on the track right in front of the engine.
The witness said that the locomotive caught the rear part of the auto nnd spun it around, throwing out all the occupants. It happened so suddenly that he saw none of them leaving the car. He said that the noticed the driver of the auto calmly sitting at the wheel watching the road ahead as if nothing was about to happen as his auto crossed the railway track right in front of the train. Continuing his evidence, Mr. Fontaine told of picking up the victims of the smash and assisting to carry them to his father's home-close by. and also of summoning medical aid.
The engineer of the train, Mr. R.C. Sargent, 138 Marlborough avenue, Ottawa, along with his fireman, told of seeing both the auto that was struck by the train as well as the team of horses led by Mr. Fontaine. The auto appeared to be slowing up, so they did not take much notice of it, but devoted their attention to the man leading the team of horses, which were quite close to the crossing. They didn't see the car again until it was struck by the train.
Other witnesses said that they had heard the train whistle for the crossing. It was also shown that for about a third of a mile before the crossing the road runs side by side with the railway and that there is a clear view of approaching trains.
Coroner Kirby along with Crown Attorney F. W. Thistlewaite of Vankleek Hill decided that it was necessary to have evidence from one of the occupants of the car before returning a verdict. The driver of the car, Mr. Daniel Gauron, who was the least injured, is still a patient in the Montreal General Hospital, so it was decided to await his evidence.

Similar coverage in Eastern Ontario Review of  18 September 1925

Ottawa Citizen  21 September 1925

The inquest into the death of Mrs. Arthur Gauron, of Ville St. Pierre, Que., who was one of two persons fatally injured when a motor car in which five passengers were riding was struck by the Ottawa - Montreal C.N.R. train, near Rockland, on September 7, has been postponed until October 19, pending the recovery of surviving victims of the accident.
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Eastern Ontario Review 2 October 1925

The inquest into the death of Mrs Arthur Gauron, of Ville St. Pierre, Que., who was one of two persons fatally injured when a motor car in which five passengers were riding was struck by the Ottawa - Montreal C. N. R. train, near Rockland, on September 7th, has been postponed until October 19th, pending the recovery of surviving victims of the accident. Dr. H. H. Kirby, coroner of Hawkesbiry District, stated that Mr. and Mrs. A. Auclaire, of Lachine, Que., were progressing favorably. Mrs. Auclair is being attended by Dr. M. Powers, of Rockland and during the week-end recovered into a semi-conscious condition. Her husband, who is in hospital in Hawkesbury, has improved during the past week, but Dr. Kirby stated yesterday that he was in no means out of danger.

Ottawa Citizen 20 October 1925

Crew of Train Exonerated from Blame for Crossing! Fatality.
A verdict of accidental death was returned at the inquest conducted in the town hall at Rockland, last evening, by Coroner Dr. H. H. Kirby. of Rockland, into the death of Mrs. Daniel Gauron, Ville St. Pierre. Que., and three-month-old Jean Auclaire, of Lachine, which occurred after an auto in which they had been riding on September 7th was struck by a C.N.R. train at the Rockland level crossing.
The jury exonerated from all blame the engineer of the train, Mr. R. C. Sargent, 138 Marlborough avenue, this city, and added a rider recommending that adequate traffic signals be placed at the Rockland and similar level crossings. Copies of the verdict will be forwarded to the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada and the Ontario provincial department of highways.
Most of the evidence had been taken on September 14th, and the only witness heard last evening was Mr. Daniel Gauron, driver of the automobile, who was unable to supply any details as to what had happened, informing the coroner that his mind had been practically a blank since it occurred.
He stated he had not been aware a train was approaching the crossing until it was right on top of them, and then there was a crash and he knew nothing more until several hours after, when he realized what had occurred.
In the verdict the jury found that while there had not been any criminal negligence on the part of anyone, the jurors were of the opinion that Mr. Daniel Gauron, driver of the automobile, had not exercised sufficient precaution when approaching the level crossing.

Eastern Ontario Review 23 October 1925

Carried the first paragraph of the above Citizen report only.

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