Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1950, July 2 - Crossing accident Canadian National Railways at Bells Corners, three dead, one injured

From the Ottawa Citizen  3 July 1950:

Three Ottawa Men Killed When Car Hits Train
Tragic ending to a sports outing a car-train crash at Bell's Comers early Sunday morning brought death to three young Ottawa men and serious Injuries to a fourth.
The dead are: Norman Campbell Copping, 32. of 491 Cambridge Street.
Anthony Zito, 23, of 420 Preston Street.
Silvio Tiezzi, 21, of 261 Preston Street.
 In Civic Hospital is:
Thomas Smirle, 21, of 135 Concord Street, fractured left leg, right foot partly severed, severe head and body injuries. His condition is said to be critical.
The accident occurred shortly after 12.30 a.m., Sunday when the car in which the four men were driving collided with the Vancouver-bound train at Bell's Corners. (Bell's Corners Is eight miles south-west of Ottawa on Highway No. 15).
Killed Instantly
Copping, driver of the car, was instantly killed. Zito died shortly after admission to hospital. Tiezzi died at 3.30 Sunday afternoon, failing to respond to emergency treatment given at the Civic. He had suffered a fractured skull, compound fracture of the right leg and multiple body injuries.
Police reports said the men apparently failed to see the train. The automobile, a 1947 model, collided with a baggage car as the train roared across Highway No. 15 at the crossing just west of Bell's Corners.
The force of the impact threw the automobile engine Into an adjoining field. The shattered car body was tossed completely off the highway.
The four men were returning to Ottawa from Stittsville where they had played an exhibition Softball game under lights. Three of the men, Norman Copping, Anthony Zito and Silvio Tiezzi, were members of the Stanley Brookes electrical firm team of Ottawa.
Bill Copping, 23, brother of Norman and also a member of the team, said the group of players were driving to Ottawa in four cars.
"Mine was the first car and I didn't see the train coming until the last minute," Bill said. "I didn't have time to stop so I just gave the car the gun and beat the train by about 15 or 20 feet.
"My brother's car was behind mine. I guess he didn't see it either and drove right Into it."
Bill Copping said he had not heard the train whistle. There were no wig-wag lights at the crossing.
He added that at the time he knew nothing of the accident and drove on to Ottawa. It was only later he learned of the tragedy.
William Teehan, manager of the team, was following two or three cars behind and did not see the accident. He was one of the first , to .come on the scene of the crash.
"Grim Sight"
"It was a grim looking sight," said Teehan. "The injured boys were conscious but seemed to be suffering from shock.
"We covered them with blankets as soon as we could and waited for the ambulances to come along."
The manager said he didn't know the cause of the accident because he hadn't seen what happened.
"The boys were overtired from the game," he said, "and that's a dangerous crossing with no wig-wag signal."
Immediately following the crash, the train crew threw on the emergency brakes and brought the passenger-train to a halt a short distance down the right-of-way.
In charge of the train was Conductor Donald St. Denis of Capreol, Ont., and the engineer was James McKenny of Glinn Avenue, Overbrook. They and other crew members rushed to the aid of the injured motorists and assisted in summoning ambulances.
The automobile was in collision with the train just back of the coal-tender. The train, passing by Bells Corners on time at 12.37 a.m., was delayed one hour and 15 minutes by the accident.
At the time of the collision, the train was travelling at about 50 miles per hour. Officials said that, as customary, the whistle had been sounded to give warning of the train's approach.
"Didn't See Train"
Sunday afternoon. Tommy Smirle, lone survivor of the crash, was reported to have said the occupants of the death-car "didn't even see the train." He, Copping, Zito and Tiezzi had been talking about the ball game. Without warning, they had struck the train.
Other members of the team .travelling In a third car came upon the accident scene a few minutes later. The Exclusive and Carleton Ambulances were summoned and rushed the accident victims to the Civic Hospital.

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Updated  10 April 2019