DAVID THOMAS, GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR
The driver of a passenger car bearing British Columbia licence plates walked away apparently unscathed Tuesday from a violent encounter with an eastbound Canadian Pacific freight train at the Highway 3 level crossing in Fort Macleod.
A female passenger was taken to Fort Macleod Health Centre by ambulance. Her condition remained unknown at press time.
While the hood, trunk and roof of the black Pontiac Grand Am were thoroughly buckled by the impact, the passenger compartment survived sufficiently to allow the doors to be easily opened by rescuers.
Fort Macleod emergency services and RCMP officers were at the scene within minutes of the accident.
Lateral skid marks on the snow-slicked road surface and the pattern of damage to the vehicle show that the front of the locomotive smacked the car’s right front fender, just ahead of the passenger seat, said Sgt. Brent Hawker of the Fort Macleod RCMP after inspecting the scene.
Investigators had yet to determine whether the driver would be charged with an offence.
The vehicle, heading east on Highway 3 at the time of the collision, was spun into the ditch before coming to a halt right-side up, just a few metres east of the crossing.
The locomotive stopped about 300 metres further down the line, leaving its train of grain hopper cars blocking Highway 3 and both level crossings to the west, at Fifth and Third avenues.
The short stopping distance indicates the train was travelling at its usual reduced speed through town. RCMP investigators said the crossing flashers and bells were functioning when the train and car collided at the crossing.