Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1981, January 21 - Crossing collision at Moose Creek, passenger car derailed, two fatalities,  both in vehicle

Ottawa Citizen 22 January 1981

Sun, snow blinds driver
An Ottawa woman was killed and her husband critically injured when their car smashed into a passenger train at a level crossing near Moose Creek, about 60 kilometres east of Ottawa.
Evelyn Sproule, 55, of Foley Avenue, died instantly in the accident when her husband Thomas, 58, was apparently blinded by the sun and failed to see the approaching VIA Rail Rapido train as it sped through the crossing on Hwy. 138, about four kilometres south of Moose Creek.
The signal lights were working at the time of the 11:25 a.m. accident. The crossing doesn't have a barrier gate.
Thomas Sproule is in a coma at the Ottawa General Hospital and is listed in critical condition.
Relatives said the Sproules were heading to Cornwall to visit the Mrs. Sproule's brother.
The collision derailed the first coach of the Ottawa-Montreal Rapido, but none of the 34 passengers was injured. The passengers were later bused to Montreal.
Four other trains were rerouted onto Canadian Pacific tracks during the six hours it took to repair the damage to the train.
Stanley Sproule, of Vankleek Hill, said his brother, a steam engineer with the city of Ottawa, and his sister-in-law had moved to Ottawa from Cornwall about 15 years ago.
He said his brother's condition "is touch and go."
Police said because of the sun and snowbanks, the driver hadn't seen the train until too late.
This was the third fatality during the last two years at the railway crossing located about 30 kilometers north of Cornwall.
The car, dragged several meters along the track bed, was demolished.

Ottawa Citizen 24 January 1981

Car-train crash sparks inquest
An inquest will be held into Wednesday's train-car collision in Roxboro Township which killed an Ottawa woman and critically injured her husband.
The inquest will not likely be held before June, said Dr. James Lewin of Cornwall. It will likely be held in Cornwall.
Evelyn Sproule, 55, of Foley Avenue, died in the accident. Her husband, Thomas Sproule, 58, remained in critical condition at Ottawa General Hospital Friday.

Ottawa Citizen 12 June 1981

Coroner's jury wants barrier
CORNWALL A barrier should be installed at a railway crossing on Hwy. 138 where an Ottawa couple was killed in a car-train crash last January, a coroner's jury recommended Thursday.
Moreover, the five-member jury urged that the.speed limit be reduced and passing disallowed at the approaches to the railway crossing, just south of Moose Creek.
The jury made the recommendations after ruling that the deaths of Thomas and Evelyn Sproule of 1086 Foley Ave. were accidental.
Coroner Dr.James Lewin said he will forward the recommendations to Ontario's chief coroner, Dr. H.B. Cotnam.
Thomas, 57, the driver of the car, died seven days after the accident from injuries sustained in the crash. His wife died instantly.
The accident, the second double-fatality at the crossing in less than two years, occurred about 11.25 a.m. when the Sproule car smacked into the side of the east-bound VIA passenger train.
"Apparently in both cases the drivers of the vehicles didn't see the trains," Crown attorney Don Johnston told the inquest.
OPP Constable Charles McDonald said the two accidents were almost identical. In the first accident, on Jan. 15, 1979, two Alberta residents died when their van hit the side of an eastbound freight train.
The inquest was told the Sproules were not speeding, but the brake lights of their car didn't go on until they were "right on top" of the train.
Duane Fusee, of Moose Creek, tesified that the Sproule car passed his fuel truck a short distance before the railway crossing.
He saw the train coming, but thought the Sproules did not because "they didn't slow down ... I was watching for his brake lights. About one second before impact, he (Sproule) braked."
VIA Rail Engineer Hartland Mulcahy, of Orleans, said he gave the proper warning on the whistle as the train approached the crossing, and rang the locomotive's warning bell.

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Updated 14 June 2020