NEWS

Transportation Safety Board investigates van-train fatality

06/11/2012 04:08 EDT | Updated 08/11/2012 05:12 EDT

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the collision between a freight train and minivan that killed two children in southwestern Ontario.

Safety board spokesperson Chris Krepski said the board was notified of the collision and decided to "deploy and investigate" the crash that happened Sunday in Lakeshore, Ont., just east of Windsor.

Krepski said the investigator will interview witnesses, gather information at the scene and review road and weather conditions.

"We'll take the time we need to take in order to complete our investigation," Krepski said.

The railway crossing at which the collision occurred met all government regulations, according to a spokesperson for CP Railway.

Wynter Williams, 6, and her sister Brooklyn, 3, died when a train collided with a minivan they were travelling in on Strong Road in Lakeshore, Ont., just east of Windsor.

Their brother, Dryden, 4, remained in critical condition at Detroit Children's Hospital, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Their father, Andrew Williams, is fighting for his life in a Windsor hospital. The youngest child, Jasmyn, 18 months, suffered only minor injuries in the collision.

CP Railway's Kevin Hrysak wrote in an email that the posted maximum speed limit for freight trains along that stretch of track, east of Windsor, is 95 km/hr.

"I do not know the specific speed the train was travelling, other than I was informed that it was well below the posted speed," Hrysak wrote.

Hrysak wrote that the crossing meets all federal and safety requirements set forth by Transport Canada.

"The crossing in question is equipped with cross bucks — railway crossing signs — but has good sightlines. It has signage — two per side — posted on either side of the road leading up to the crossing," Hrysak wrote.

Hrysak said the train's engineer tried to avoided the collision, but couldn't.

"Our crew did everything within their means to alert the driver of the approaching train by sounding their whistle and putting the train in an emergency brake application, but the driver was unresponsive and the train unfortunately made contact with the vehicle," Hrysak said.

According to Operation Lifesaver Canada, nine people died in collisions at rail crossings in 2011. Through March of this year, three people died at rail crossings in the province.

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