Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1937, June 19 - Crossing collision at Almonte, CPR., Chalk River sub., three fatalities, one injury.

Ottawa Journal 21 June 1937

Three at Almonte Die on Crossing
Carleton Place Residents on Visit to Fellow Townsmen in Hospital Die When Train Hits Car

ALMONTE, June 20 Three Carleton Place people on their way to visit a fellow townsman at the hospital here were killed almost instantly, and a fourth was seriously injured, when their automobile was struck by the Canadian Pacific Pembroke local train, bound for Ottawa, on the level crossing at Bridge street in Almonte, at 3.45 p m. Standard Time, Saturday.
Victims of the level crossing accidient, worst at this spot within the memory of officials here, are
The Dead
Oswald Bigras, 19. Carleton Place, driver of the automobile, who was killed instantly.
Mrs. Willa Bigras, 49. his mother, who died half an hour later at the hospital.
William Lavature, 39, also of Carleton Place, who succumbed to injuries an hour afterwards at the hospital.
William Bigras, 50, the bereaved husband and father, who had his right arm broken, and suffered broken ribs and shock, but who is expected to recover.

Pushed Along Track.
Pushed more than 25 feet in front of the locomotive of the east-bound train, the automobile in which the four were travelling was turned over twice and demolished Oswald Bigras and Lavature were in the front seat, and Bigras' mother and father in the back seat of the sedan. Lavature was able to climb from the wreckage when the train drew to a stop, but collapsed, and was near death by the time he was taken to hospital.
The four had intended to visit Lavature's brother. Arthur Lavature, who lost several fingers in an accident at a Carleton Place mill a few days ago.
Witnesses declared the driver entered the railway right-of-way in spite of a "wig-wag" and bell warning at the crossing, and drove directly in the path of the Pembroke train as it was approaching the Almonte station stop.
Saw Freight Train First
The crossing, it was stated, is not quite open, but is protected by signals. At the time of the mishap a freight train was standing at the station to the east of the croasing. Daniel Barr, of Ramsay township, who was standing on a street corner close by, said he saw the driver look towards the freight train, as he slowed for the level crossing, and apparently thinking the crossing signals were ringing for this train, continued on his way, unaware the Pembroke train was bearing down on him from the west.
Doctors R.C. MacDowall and J.F. Dunn were called to the scene. They found the driver beyond aid, and the condition of Mrs. Bigras and Mr. Lavature was critical. The two seriously hurt were taken to the Rosamond Memorial hospital, where both died shortly afterwards.
The bodies were taken to George L. Comba's funeral parlors, and later last night were taken to Carleton Place for interment.

Inquest on June 28.
Dr. A.A. Metcalfe, coroner, opened an inquest at the town hall last night, and the hearing was adjourned until June 28, when it is hoped Mr. Bigras will be able to give evidence.
At the preliminary inquest the jury saw the body of the car driver and the wreckage of the automobile. They also heard the evidence of the eye-witness, Daniel Barr.
Members of the coroner's jury were. Dr. G.B. Halladay, foreman. Jack Aspinall, James Cochrane, John Timmins, James Richards, G.W. Dunlop. E. Farnham, E.J. Lee, George Needham, Robert Houston, Adam Johnson and Donald McLean.

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Updated 13 May 2021