Locals raise safety questions after Montreal teen, and his dog, killed in train collision
MONTREAL -- A young man and the dog he was walking were killed late Wednesday evening in eastern Montreal when they were struck by a train convoy.
The tragedy occurred around 10 p.m. at a level crossing located at the intersection of 81st Ave. and Victoria St., in a residential area of Pointe-aux-Trembles.
Montreal police responded to a 911 call and found a man lying unconscious on the ground with a serious head injury, they said.
He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police say he was 18 years old.
The dog also succumbed to the impact.
Montreal investigators say they believe that the circumstances of the tragedy are accidental and they, as well as the Quebec coroner, are investigating what went wrong.
It came as a real shock to the community, locals say. But they also raised longstanding questions around safety measures at that train crossing and said they want to see them addressed.
“I am devastated. My heart goes out to the family,” said one. “I think we have to figure out what happened and prevent it from happening again.”
The teen was walking his dog near a spot where commuter and freight trains regularly roll through.
That particular crossing, along 81st St., has bells, lights and barriers, but some pedestrians said the system actually doesn’t give much warning—and there’s a barrier only on one side.
“Once I was walking the dog and I was crossing the tracks,” said another local resident near the site on Thursday.
“And the lights came on and the thing went down, and the train passed behind me as soon as I crossed the road.”
Police say they aren’t sure yet if the lack of a barrier on one side was a factor. However, they say there’s nothing to suggest the teenager wasn’t paying attention or couldn’t hear the bells.
“Nothing indicated he was listening to headphones,” said Montreal police spokesperson Raphael Bergeron.
While there’s always a possibility he was looking at his phone, Bergeron said, “that’s yet to be determined in the investigation.”
Police are also looking into whether the young man was crossing the tracks or walking along them when he was hit.
The crossing is under the responsibility of CN Rail. When asked for comment, a spokesperson said CN won't be commenting as the case is under investigation.
People left flowers at the scene on Thursday. Some said they don’t understand how the young man could have missed the warning.
“I am a bit shocked,” one said. “I mean, with the lighting and the sound, normally it’s pretty secure.”
“Usually the train has the lights and sounds and things that go down. So I’m not sure what happened there,” said another.
The coroner’s office said it can’t yet identify the victim, nor can it comment yet on what exactly it will look into as part of its investigation. Coroners investigate deaths in order to find ways of preventing similar incidents in future.
Watch the video above for Billy Shields's report from the scene.