Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1952, February 4 - three people are killed in a crossing accident at Parkdale Avenue, CPR Carleton Place sub.

Ottawa Citizen, 5 February 1952

Demand Crossing Signal
After 3 Die In Grade Smash up
A train-auto smashup last night that snuffed out the lives of three Ottawa youths today brought a demand from Con. Paul Tardif for immediate city action to install proper warning signals at two west-end crossings.
The trio were killed when their auto was hit and crushed to a battered hulk by the CPR-CNR Toronto flyer at the Parkdale Avenue CPR level crossing.
The train was Ottawa-bound at 9.50 p.m. The car had swung north onto Parkdale from Scott Street.
Crown Attornev Raoul Mercfer, KC, at noon today ordered an inquest into the triple fatality. He made the decision after consultation with Coroner Dr. W. T. Kendall.
Dead in crash are:
Albert Finn, 21, 280 western Avenue, owner driver of the car
Gerald Roger. 16, 22 Barringon Avenue
William A. (Bill) Hutchings, 26, 190 Forward Avenue.
It was a friendlv horsetrade that sent the threesome out onto the icy street last night, it was learned today.
Finn, with young Roger along as company, was driving Hutchings to his home in order to exchange a set of pocketbooks a long-standing habit.
Finn swerved the ill-fated car onto Parkdale, heading for  Hutchings' home on Forward Avenue.
The crash wrenched Finn and Roger out of their sets and hurled them through the air.  They died instantly.
Hutchings was pinned under the twisted wreck. Although still alive when police arrived at the scene, he died a few minutes a few minutes later while being rushed to Civic Hospital.

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The story of the accident can best be told in the words of an eyewitness. Earl Gervais, as related to The Citizen.
Eyewitness Story
"I was working in my garage across the road from the crossing, when I heard the train approach. I then glanced up out! of the window.
"The car was on the crossing. I heard the train's whistle, and at the same Instant there was a crash as the engine plowed into the car.
"The automobile was simply lifted from the road, I would say jt went at leasl 15 feet up jn lhe  air." he said.
(The twisted wreckage of the automobile came to rest on its side a distance of about 150 feat from the crossing, leaving a trail of broken fenders and engme parts alongits path
Mr. Gervais continued that he ran from his shop to the side of the tracks where the car lay.
"Two men were lying on the snow where they had been thrown from the car, while a third man was underneath the automobile.
Pinned Under Car
"A neighbor, Wilfred Lavergne. of 250 Parkdale Avenue, came to help me but we could not get the injured man from under the car.

From the Ottawa Citizen 21 February 1952

Jury Probing Level Crossing Deaths Urges Trains Slow Down When In City
A coroner's jury investigating a West End train-auto collision which took three lives on the night of Feb. 8 last night recommended "that the speed of all trains be reduced to a minimum from the time they enter the city limits until their destination is reached''
Killed with the driver, Albert G. Finn, 21, 260 Northwestern Avenue, were two passengers. Gerald Roger. 16. 22 Barrington Avenue and William A. Hutchings, 26 180 Forward Avenue.
Jurors said they believed the driver "contributed to his death by not being more alert to notice the on-coming train before he attempted to cross the tracks".
Four witnesses testified that. in their opinion, the train was proceeding faster than usual the night of the accident, but the train crew said the speed normal, about 35 to 40 miles an hour.
Howard Morphy, 879 Somerset Street, conductor of the Ottawa express-bound flyer, testified that it was between three and four minutes late when the accident occurred,
No Whistle After 9 P.M.
The train whistle was not sounded before the crossing, he said, because this is not allowed inside the city limits after 9 p.m.  The locomotive bell was ringing, he testified.
As the Parkdale Avenue ievel crossing has no warning wig-wag or signal, the jury recommended that "a wig-wag or some sort of safety measure be installed at all main crossings".
Evidence of several witnesses indicated that rain had been falling and the surface of the road was very slippery. The train had not skidded, though testified Engineer Thomas Barnes. 34 Breezehill Avenue.
"I saw the car moving very slowly and I thought they were going to stop. But when I saw they weren't going to, I gave a blast on the whistle and put the brakes into emergency," he said.
Dr Max Kletz, pathologist of Ottawa Civic Hospital, who examined the dead driver shortly after the accident, said Finn had died of "multiple injuries to the spinal cord.''
The dead man's blood contained "enough alcohol to indicate his ability may have been impaired." he testified.
Floyd Mosley. waiter in the Elmdalc Hotel beverage room,; testified that earlier in the evening Finn had come in alone and bought one draft of beer.
Shortly after, he was joined by a friend who bought two drafts, "but I don't know who drank them,' said Mosley, adding that Finn had left the beverage room about 15 minutes; after entering.
Coroner Dr. W. T Kendall conducted the inquest into the triple fatality which occurred; when the CPR-CNR Ottawa- bound, flyer ripped into Finn's 1938 auto at 9.50 p.m.
 Witnesses were questioned by jAssistant Crown Attorney Edward Houston. Jurors were Oscar Dufour, 426 Besserer Street: Donald Ursu. 160 Cambridge Street , William Stephens. 473 Metcalfe Street; Joseph Birmingham, 23 Riverdale Averrue.jand Anasse Dumoulln, 482 Nelson Street.

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Updated 16 October 2019