|Ottawa Citizen 23 February 1938 |
Winchester Man's Death On Railway Ruled Accidental
WINCHESTER Feb. 22 A verdict of accidental death when struck by a westbound train on the morning of Feb. 8.[sic] with no blame attached to the crew, was returned at the inquest held into the death of Hamlet A. O'Neil. 23-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. John O'Neil of this place, this afternoon in the town hall O'Neil's body was found on the railway tracks near the highway crossing, south of Winchester by the crew of a freight train. The inquest was presided over by the chief district coroner, Dr. P. McLaughlin.
Out 15 Minutes.
After hearing the evidence of 13 witnesses, the jury retired for 15 minutes and brought in the following verdict: "We, the members of the jury, met to inquire into the causes of the death of Hamlet A. O'Neil and have decided from the evidence received that the said Hamlet O'Neil came to his death as a result of being struck by westbound passenger train, No. 21. on the early morning of Feb. 28.[sic]. We attach no blame to the crew of the said train."
Dr. J.J. McKendry. who examined the body, stated that death was due to severe scalp wounds on the left side of the head. In his opinion death was instantaneous and was caused by some short or blunt instrument which struck the man with severe force.
Telesphore Demuy of Smiths Falls, engineer on the passenger train that is believed to have struck O Neil, testified that he did not see anyone on or near the tracks as he approached the station. He said the train was travelling 25 miles an hour as it approached the crossing, and seven miles an hour when passing the station. He had sounded the whistle as he approached the local C.P.R. yards, and the wig-wag signals were in operation when the train crossed the highway.
Went to Station Together.Jack VanBridger testified that O'Neil had accompanied him to the station on the evening in question, and that while waiting for the train to arrive. O'Neil had got out of the car, saying that it was too warm and he would start walking back to town. VanBridger last saw him walking down the driveway toward the highway.
Simon Deetan of Smiths Falls, engineer on a freight train, in his evidence said that he had brought his train into Winchester about 5 a.m. on Feb. 8. and was stopping to drop off a car on the siding when he noticed an object, which he believed to be the body of a man. lying in the center of the tracks directly in the path of his locomotive. The train was almost stopped at the time, but before he could bring it to a complete stop, the engine and four cars had passed over the body. He notified the other members of the crew and upon investigation, found that the man had been dead for some time, as his clothes were frozen to the ice on the railway ties. Mr. Deetan's evidence was corroborated by A. W. Bourbonais and Ivan Arnold, trainmen, and R. Arnold, conductor, on the same train.
Others who gave evidence were: Provincial Officer Frank Rose. John O'Neil. father of the dead man: J. L. Dixon, undertaker; Hubert Summers and Silas Bellinger, section men, and Donald Harper.
The jury was composed of Walter Moflatt, foreman, W. J. Stewart, W. H. Agnew. Myron Davidson. Wesley Barkley. A. E. Goodfellow, Ernest Christie. William Leslie and T. O. Keyes.