Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1950, November 11 - Crossing accident New York Central at Finch. one fatality and one injury

From the Ottawa Citizen  13 November 1950

Casselman Girl Dies Of Injuries
SpecialTo The Citizen CORNWALL
Despite her heroic rescue by an injured Ottawa truck driver. Roilande Vaillancourt, 13, of Casselman, Ont, died In a Cornwall hospital last night of injuries received when the transport truck in which she was riding was struck by a train at a level crossing at Finch Saturday night.
Gerard Dupuis, of Billings Bridge, driver of the transport, was thrown from the cab when the NYC passenger train struck, but he ignored concussion and lacerations to rush back into the burning cab and pull the girl to safety.
The girl suffered a compound skull fracture, abrasions, and third-degree burns.
Taken to Cornwall's Hotel Dieu Hospital with the girl and Dupuis was four-year-old Pierrei Vaillancourt, Rollande's brother, and son of Mr.and Mrs. Rene Vaillancourt of Casselman. He was treated for head bruises and released. Dupuis was detained for further treatment.
Provincial police said that the tractor-trailer combination driven by Dupuis had entered the level crossing on Highway 43, near Finch, 21 miles northwest of Cornwall, directly in the path of the NYC locomotive, driven by William Sweeney, Massena, N.Y.
The trailer was torn free of the tractor and thrown to the ditch alongside the tracks. The tractor, however, was carried 200 feet by the locomotive before the train came to a halt.
Thrown clear of the cab, which had burst into flames on impact, Dupuis, disregarding his own painful injuries, rushed to the badly wrecked and burning cab and pulled the Vaillancourt girl free.
Ottawa Conductor
In charge of the train, which was en route to its terminal at Helena, N.Y., was conductor D. L. Porter, 95 Florence Street, Ottawa.
Engineer Sweeney told Police that the train had been stopped at the Finch station and was just picking up speed when it reached the level crossing. At the time of collision the train was travelling at 15 miles per hour, he said.
Dr. J. O. MacLeod, Finch, gave emergency treatment at the scene of the accident, and supervised the removal of the injured to hospital by ambulance.
Investigating were Ontario Provincial Police Constables A. H. Barker, Cornwall, and Bernard Polnicky, Casselman.

From Ottawa Journal 13 November 1950

Train Truck Crash Costs Girl's Life
A 12-year-old Casselman girl, Rollande Vaillancourt, died In Hotel Dieu Hospital, Cornwall, at 10 o'clock Sunday night and two other persons, one of them the girl's brother, are recovering from injuries suffered in a transport-train crash at the New York Central Railway crossing at Finch, at 5.35 p.m., Saturday.
The child died from a compound fracture of the skull and third degree burns to both thighs.
All in Cab.
Pierre Vaillanvourt, five year old brother of the injured girl suffered head iniuries, cuts and bruises to the body. His condition is reported as "good".
Third person injured and driver of the Taggart transport involved, was Gerard Dupuis. 27, of Billings Bridge, who sustained a severe gash to his forehead requiring 10 stitches, and burns to hands and body; condition is good.
All the injured were in th cab of the transport at the time of the collision and were all thrown clear of the wreckage before the cab burst into flames 200 feel from the point of impact.
The New York Central line, a single track, crosses highwav 43 at the easterly limits of the town. The engine, pulling three passenger filled coaches had stopped at the Finch statioj 2.000 feet from Ihe level crossing to discharge passengers.
Pulling out slowly to continue its run to Cornwall, the engine struck the westbound cab of the transport broadside between the right front wheel and cab door
Bursts lnto Flames.
The trailer was uncoupled from the cab by the impact and rolled over into the south ditch east of the track, while the cab was carried down the track 200 feet where it burst into flames.
Engineer was William Sweeney of North Maine, Massena, New York, while the conductor was D.L. Potter of Ottawa.
Dupuis told police he was a friend of the Vaillancourts and was taking th children for a drive in the transport.
Constable A H Barker. OPP of Cornwall investigated

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Updated  19 April 2019