Elderly motorist struck by train
Man is second senior citizen to be hit at same crossing in past two months
An elderly man miraculously escaped serious injury after a train at a rail crossing struck the car he was driving.
The July 17 accident at the 20th Avenue train crossing was the second involving a senior citizen at the same location in the past two months. On May 17, a train struck an 81-year-old Didsbury man when he attempted to cross the tracks on foot. The man was taken to Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre to be treated for serious injuries.
“It was an unfortunate event,” said Didsbury RCMP Sgt. Jeff Jacobson of last week’s accident. “It is fortunate though that there was no serious injury.”
Shortly before 11 a.m. an eastbound Chevrolet Malibu on 20th Avenue approached the tracks, said Jacobson.
He said at the same time a northbound train was coming into town and heading towards the 20th Avenue intersection.
Jacobson said the lights at the crossing were flashing. He said the Chevrolet vehicle slowed down but stopped too far ahead and too close to the tracks.
The crossing arm came down and hit the roof of the Chevrolet, he said.
“The driver did not have time to react and his front was struck by the train engine,” said Jacobson.
He said he did not know how fast the train was moving on impact.
“They are regulated by speed when they are going through town,” said Jacobson.
Although the elderly driver of the vehicle, believed to be 83 years old, did not appear to be seriously hurt, EMS and Didsbury Fire Department personnel were called to the scene.
“He was definitely able to get out of his vehicle on his own power,” said Jacobson. “He was certainly shocked at what had happened.”
He said there were several witnesses to the accident who either heard or saw what happened. Jacobson said three witnesses came forward with statements.
He said the RCMP’s preliminary analysis of the incident is showing that driver’s error is the cause of the accident.
Jacobson said RCMP has not yet decided whether charges will be laid. He also said Canadian Pacific Railway Police are also conducting their own investigation.
“We want to remind the public that there are frequent trains that are travelling through that intersection and always assume one might be approaching, and be extra cautious,” said Jacobson.