Ottawa Citizen 29 October 1980|
Driver unhurt in car-train crash
Tony Cappallazzi was hit by a train Tuesday, dragged 12 metres in his car along the tracks and felt "like the Pope was going to be blessing him" today.
But he suffered nary a scratch.
The 31 -year-old bachelor crawled from his demolished station wagon seconds after the 4 p.m. crash that spun his car upside down into a water-filled ditch.
Cappallazzi, a Goulburn Avenue resident, said he couldn't hear the bells signalling the approach of the west-bound passenger train because his car windows were closed.
Cappallazzi said he brought his car to a stop after seeing the flashing red lights at the level crossing on Michael Street just east of St. Laurent Boulevard. There are no barriers at the crossing.
It was only then he realized he had stopped too close to the tracks.
"I looked up and saw this great big monster of steel moving towards me. It hit the right front fender, spinning the car around before striking the rear left fender," he said.
"The next thing I realized I was upside down with water coming in through a broken window and the smell of gasoline all around me.
"Let me tell you, it feels like the Pope is going to be blessing you the next day."
The VIA Rail passenger train from Montreal had already started to slow down as it approached the Ottawa station. VIA spokesman Daniel Rosseel said it was travelling at a speed less than 55 kilometres per hour.
The crossing is in the middle of a light industrial area and according to Ottawa police, that is likely the reason there are no barriers.
Although it was the second accident in two years at the crossing, neither the city or Canadian Transport Commission has had requests for the erection of barricades.
A 61 -year-old Rockcliffe man was killed at the crossing in 1978 when his car was struck by a Canadian National train.
Requests for barricades or gates at level crossings usually come from the municipality. The CTC makes the final decision on adding barriers after meetings with representatives from the city and railway officials.
Ferguson said the only damage to the train, which was delayed for 20 minutes because of the Crash, was a broken speedometer cable valued at about $100.