Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1928, July 12 - Collision at Timmins Crossing, Snedden, CPR., Chalk River sub., one fatality.

Ottawa Citizen 13 July 1928

Rev. Father Lewis J. Connolly, beloved rector of St. Declan's Roman Catholic church, Brightside, Ont., was instantly killed about 10.15 o'clock last night when his car stalled on the C.P.R. tracks five miles west of here, and was hit by a special train carrying members of the Orange Order who were returning from a Twelfth of July celebration at Pembroke.  The accident occurred just one mile west of Snedden Station, and is one of the saddest that has happened in this vicinity for many months.

Ottawa Journal 13 July 1928

With picture
Rev. Father Louis James Connolly, parish priest of Brightside, and well known in Ottawa where he had served in the Civil Service and as curate of St. Brigid's Church, instantly killed last night near Snedden by a backing C.P.R. train when his coupe became stalled on track.

Ottawa Citizen 20 July 1928

No Fatality If Engine Was Not Run Backwards
Opinion Expressed in Verdict of Jury Inquiring Into Death of Rev. Father Lewis J. Connolly.
ALMONTE, Ont, July 19. The story of last Thursday's fatal auto accident at Timmins Crossing near Snedden, in which Rev. Father Lewis J. Connolly, parish priest of Brighside, Ont, and formerly of Ottawa, was instantly killed, was fully told tonight at the inquest which was held in the Almonte Town Hall, and presided over by Coroner A. A. Metcalfe, M.D, of Almonte.
In the evidence it was shown that as an auto driven by the late Rev. Father L. J. Connolly ran on to Timmins Crossing near Snedden and that a C.P.R.. engine travelling backwards and pulling a string of empty passenger cars struck it broadside. On account of darkness none of the witnesses were able to describe really how the accident happened. The train crew told of taking the train loaded with passengers from Smiths Falls to Pakenham and of being on their way back to Carleton Place when the accident occurred.
The Verdict
The jury after lengthy deliberation returned a verdict of accidental death. The verdict read:
"We find that Rev. Lewis J. Connolly met his death by being accidentally struck by an east-bound C.P.R. train at the town line crossing between Pakenham and Ramsay. We are of the opinion that this accident would not have happened had the engine been travelling front foremost."
Owing to the popularity of the late Rev. Father Connolly in Almonte and vicinity great interest was taken in tonight's proceedings and a large number of the crowd which jammed the chamber for the inquest waited for about an hour to hear the jury's verdict which was not returned until close on to midnight. The jury consisted of: Michael Ryan, foreman; Orville Arthurs, Andrew McPhail, Robert Stewart, James Barker, Sheffield Graham, Ephrian Cody, Albert Naismith, and P. Sutherland. C. H. McKimm, of Smiths Falls, represented the crown; W. L. Scott, K.C., from Ottawa, the C.P.R., and W. P. Stafford, K.C, of Almonte, represented the estate of the late Rev. Father Connolly.
Conductor Testifies.
Clarence Hunter, conductor on the train, was the first witness. He, told of feeling the brakes applied. The next thing he smelt gasoline and came to the conclusion the train had struck an auto. He told of finding the body of Father Connolly in the ditch alongside the track. The engine of the auto was under the engine of the train and part of the car was about 60 feet distant in the ditch and part of it was on the tender of the engine. In answer to a question, Conductor Hunter said the train was travelling twenty miles an hour.
Engineer's Evidence.
Michael Doyle, engineer, said that the engine was backing up, pulling the train. He said that he thought he saw lights of a car approaching the crossing. They were travelling slowly and it seemed as if the car was coming to a stop, but it did not. He said he had sounded the whistle for the crossing. "I shut off the engine," he said, "threw on the emergency brakes and kept the whistle wide open just as the train struck the car. The rear of the car was not yet on the crossing."
He said that he took a torch and went to look at the car and found the car floor open wide, no one was within; there was only a hat. He looked about and found Father Connolly lying on his face in the ditch. The engine of the auto was under the train between the engine and the tender and the remainder of the car was about 60 feet distant.
Rear End Brakeman.
William H. Oates, trainman, said he went from Smiths Falls with special train for Pakenham, and was rear end brakeman. "Returning to Smiths Falls." he said, "I was sitting in the third car from the engine when I heard the shrieking of the whistle then the brakes. The train stopped, I got off one side, Conductor Hunter off the other. He came around to my side and we found Father Connolly lying in the ditch. We went towards the engine end found part of the car hanging on the tender, pulled it off and rolled it clear off the track. I remained with the body when the train continued to Carleton Place. The first ones to arrive after the train had left were Rev. Father Harris and Canon Cavanagh. An engine and baggage car came back from Carleton Place. The remains were placed in the car and brought to Almonte. The coaches of our train were all in darkness except the one in which Conductor Hunter and I were."
Evidence given by Leslie Ritchie, fireman on the train, was similar to that given by previous witnesses. He gave the opinion that the ill-fated auto stalled on the tracks, as it appeared to him to have come to a sudden stop. Trainman Wm. Horton said he had heard the whistle for the crossing and also that the train was brought to a stop before it had gone over the crossing.
Farmers Testify.
Mr. C. Young, farmer, said: "About 9.30 p.m. I was sitting in front of the stable at Mr. Timmin's home and saw the auto first about 300 yards from the crossing. It wasn't long before a train came along."
He said he didn't see the accident but went to the scene when he noticed the train had stopped.
Hilliard Bullock, farmer, of Snedden. said he was at Mr. Timmin's place, he heard the train whistle and saw a motor car's lights travelling along a road further back and parallel with the railway. He saw the car turn onto the road leading over the tracks at Timmin's crossing. When he saw the train approaching the car was on a small hill about 400 feet from the crossing and the train was about 800 feet from the crossing. He said he noticed the auto slowed down as if it was going to stop and then started off again as it approached the crossing. Just before the crash he heard the brakes on the train being applied. As it was dark he did not see the actual collision.
James Timmins, farmer, told of noticing Father Connolly's auto slowed down a little as it approached the crossing. He also told of hearing the train whistle and said that he thought the car had time to get over the crossing with safety before the train. Asked about the speed, he said the auto was travelling about fifteen miles per hour and the train about twenty miles.
Russell Barr, farm laborer, residing about a quarter of a mile away front the crossing, said he noticed the engine was going backwards and heard it blow for Timmin's crossing. He did did not see the accident. W.S. Saddler, farmer, was with Barr and corroborated his evidence.

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