Car driven by 74-year-old taking driving test appeared to freeze before train hit it: Neighbour
MONTREAL -- The car carrying a 74-year-old driver who was performing a driving exam appeared to freeze on the tracks before a train hit it on Tuesday, a neighbour told CTV News on Wednesday.
Nassmet Elkout, who lives nearby, heard the train's horn, looked outside and saw the car. It was stationary, she said -- as if the driver was frozen in place. The train hit the car, sending it up in the air, sailing quite a distance away.
"When the train passed, he hit the car, the car [went] up, lifted up," she said. "It was very damaged, very damaged."
The 74-year-old driver was taken to hospital where he later died. The 33-year-old examiner was also taken to hospital. His condition is improving, a spokesperson for Quebec's auto insurance board, the SAAQ, said.
The deceased driver had been taking a driving test, a common occurrence performed to ensure a driver's health status, vision, hearing, reflexes and cognitive skills are good enough to continue to drive safely. Some 12,000 similar tests happen each year. Sometimes, drivers ask for the test themselves, mostly, however, doctors flag concerns.
SAAQ spokesperson Mario Vaillancourt insisted that the examiner would have stopped the test if any medical issue was apparent at the time of the test itself.
"Those persons are still good drivers on the road, but we need to check something specifically on the road, and it's why we go on this examination. Seventy-five per cent of the time they succeed," he said.
Tuesday's accident was the first of its kind -- a fatality during a reevaluation, Vaillancourt said, though there have been incidents that caused injury. The transportation safety board and Montreal police are investigating the incident.