Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

 1952, August 4 - five people are killed in a crossing accident near Petawawa, CPR Chalk River sub.

Ottawa Citizen 5 August 1952

Five Members Of Family Die In Petawawa Crossing Crash
PEMBROKE Five members of one family died In a level-crossing tragedy In Petawawa Village yesterday afternoon.
A sixth, only survivor of the family a child of seven is in hospital here near death.
Dead are:
Percy Touseant, 30, Petawawa Village.
 Mrs. Touseant, the former Evelyn Hudson.
Nelson, 5.
Leonard, 3.
Edward, 2.
Idella, 7, daughter of the dead couple, in Pembroke General Hospital, is given "little chance" of recovery.
The tragedy, which almost wiped out the Touseant family, occurred when the family car was struck by an extra freight train crossing the main street of the village at 4.42 p.m.
Killed Instantly
Mrs. Touseant and Edward were apparently killed instantly. Nelson and Leonard died In hospital several hours later. The father died about 10 p.m.
Idella, the survivor, has both legs broken and "critical" internal and chest injuries.
The father was presumably the driver of the car.
Police and residents of the shocked village said that the car had driven directly into the path of an eastbound CPR freight. The train was reported to be travelling about 20 miles an hour.
The scene was an unguarded level crossing, which is in continual heavy use. It is a few hundred yards east of the Petawawa CPR station on the railway's main line.
The car, a 1942 model, was smashed by the impact, which hurled it and its passengers a full hundred feet.
Along the right-of-way were strewn pathetic bits of their grocery order, purchased a short time before the crash. Slices of bread were imbedded on the front of the train engine.
Visiting Relatives
Police reported that the family had been visiting relatives on Highway 62 in the district, then had returned to the village for some shopping stops.
The southbound car was attempting to cross the tracks to go to the Touseant home, only a short distance away.
Several fence posts were knocked down by the car as it was thrown through the air. The train consisted only of the engine and tender, one freight car and a caboose.
The train was brought to a stop a short distance past where the car came to rest.
No explanation of the collision has been given. Investigators could conclude only that the car driver hid apparently not seen the train at all.
No Eyewitnesses
Police could find no actual eyewitnesses to the crash. Several persons who heard the sound of the impact and came on the run said that the six passengers and the car were a tangled mass of humanity and steel when the car came to rest.
The train had not stopped at the Petawawa Station, police said. It had been moving slowly at the time, they confirmed.
There have been other bad accidents at that crossing in the past, residents recalled.
This tragedy, however, is believed to be the worst of its nature in the history of the area.
In charge of the train were Conductor Basil Abker, Engineer Leslie Ritchie and Fireman Earl, all of Pembroke.
No announcement regarding an inquest has yet been made. Coroner Dr. J. C. Bradley was called to the scene.
Provincial Police Sgt. S. Whitehouse and Constable J. E. Cooper are conducting the investigation.
The dead father was a son of Leonard Touseant of Boundary Road. He was employed by a Pembroke firm and was well known in the area. Both he and his wife are natives of the Petawawa region.

Cobden Sun 7 August 1952

A man, his wife, and three sons, all of Petawawa, were all killed Monday afternoon (3 August) at that village when their car was struck by a freight train. Their only daughter escaped death, but is in critical condition at Pembroke hospital.
Dead are Percy Touseant, 30, father of the family, his wife, Evelyn, 25, the former Evelyn Hudson, and three of their children, Nelson, five, Leonard, three and Edward, two.
In critical condition in hospital, suffering from serious internal injuries and two broken legs, is the eldest of the family, Idella, aged seven.
The Touseant car was struck at a railway crossing a few hundred feet from Petawawa Station by an eastbound freight about 4.40 on Monday afternoon.
Police believe that the driver of the car, which was travelling south, did not see the freight train and attempted to cross the tracks.  Engineer of the train, Leslie Ritchie, of Smiths Falls, said that he did not see the car until the crash.  A light rain was falling at the time.
The automobole was thrown about 100 feet from the point of impact and tore down a number of fence posts before coming to rest.
Mrs. Touseant and two-year-old Edward were killed outright while Leonard and Nelson died three hours after the accident. Percy Touseant died that evening about 10 o'clock in Pembroke General Hospital.

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Updated 7 October 2019