A Devastating Accident
On February 7, 1960, the day I was born, my mother (who was pregnant with me), and my older brother and sister were on their way home from church, where they had attended a going-away party for the local doctor who was returning to Ireland. While crossing the railway tracks, their car was struck by a fast-moving freight train on the CN main line running through our small town. News of the tragic accident travelled quickly, and the RCMP, the exiting doctor and the new replacement doctor were quickly notified and brought into action.
The RCMP officer (the one on the phone with me now) was the only one in our community and he arrived on scene to find a devastating accident involving a family he knew well. His wife and my mother worked together. Searching the area, he first found my brother Larry, who had been ejected from the vehicle. He tried to resuscitate him, but my brother could not be saved and died at the scene. My sister Debbie was also ejected; she was lying in a snowdrift and had suffered head injuries. My mother was still in what was left of the car; she was badly hurt with severe head injuries and the officer, being a friend of the family, knew she was pregnant.
It was a cold February day, and this young, 26-year-old RCMP officer was left to deal with this tragic accident involving a family he knew well, trying his best to save who he could while dealing with onlookers and the train crew. The train itself had taken half a mile to stop and the crew had to walk back to the scene. In addition, as the train was on the CN main line, a line with only one set of tracks, the train had to move or risk another collision with another rapidly approaching locomotive. As if all of that wasn’t enough, there was no ambulance available and a station wagon had to be quickly put into service so that my mother and sister could be taken to the local hospital. Frankly, I don’t know how he handled it all, but he did.
Make sure to read these 7 Inspiring Fort McMurray Stories.