LAKESHORE, Ont. -- With two daughters dead and a husband and sonclinging to life, Angie Williams and her family have many questionsand no one to answer them. The sun could have been in his eyes, said Angie s sister, LynnGrech, speculating about what could have caused Angie s husbandAndrew Williams to miss the freight train barrelling toward hisvan. He did have four young kids in the car. If they werejibber-jabbering and singing, he might not have heard anything.Unfortunately we haven t been able to ask him what he remembers,or what happened. |
We don t know. We just don t know. Andrew was treating his wife to a sleep-in and his four youngchildren to Timbits Sunday morning when he crossed the train trackson Strong Road in Lakeshore just before 10 a.m. Kevin Hrysak, aspokesman for Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., said the conductor andengineer on the freight train sounded the horn repeatedly andslammed on the emergency brakes, but couldn t avoid the collision.
The crash mangled the van beyond recognition and killed WynterWilliams, six, and Brooklyn Williams, three. Dryden Williams, four,was in critical condition in the Children s Hospital of MichiganMonday evening after two surgeries. Doctors released one-year-old Jasmyn Williams, the youngest child,from the Met Campus of the Windsor Regional Hospital Monday. Grechsaid she had some bruises and abrasions on her neck from aseatbelt, but was otherwise doing fine.
Andrew was still in a medically induced coma at Hotel-Dieu GraceHospital Monday evening. Grech said he has been unconscious sincethe collision and has yet to learn his daughters are dead. Andrew and Angie have been together for almost 10 years, aftermeeting while working on a farm in Windsor, Grech said. The couplestarted their large family young. Angie, 30, looks after the children at the couple s home in SaintJoachim while Andrew, 27, works with wind turbines in the county.Grech said Wynter and Brooklyn loved playing outside, visitingtheir grandparents and animals.
Wynter loved horses, Brooklyn loved kitties. They were just goodkids. Grech said the family split itself among the three hospitalsSunday, which was very hard on Angie. No one is sure what to doabout funeral arrangements.
We re kind of at a loss. Do we start this now? Is there going tobe another one to worry about? My sister doesn t want to have thefuneral without their dad being there. We need to wait and see ifhe s OK. Ontario Provincial Police continued to investigate the crashMonday, with the Transportation Safety Board launching its ownprobe. After spending the day probing the site looking ateverything from sight lines to how the crossing was designed TSBspokesman Chris Krepski said the investigator will also beinspecting the damage and interviewing train crew members and anyother witnesses.
A decision on whether a full investigation is warranted could bemade today, Krepski said. Hrysak, the CPR spokesman, said the train was travelling well belowthe speed limit of 95 km/h. Our crew did everything they could toalert the driver of the approaching train, he said. Grech said Andrew took the isolated gravel road because ofconstruction on the main route into Belle River. The crossing ismarked by crossbucks, or two Xes, but does not have flashinglights or a barrier.
There are signs warning drivers to stop andlook in both directions. Grech said safety measures at the intersection could be improved. It needs bars, or something. Grief counsellors attended Belle River public school Monday,offering support to staff and students.
We try to make it very proactive in terms of what students can doto support their peers who are experiencing something as traumaticas the accident that happened, said Vicki Komar, supervisor ofsocial work for the Greater Essex County District School Board. There are special challenges when dealing with such young childrenand their grief, she said. Often times especially the younger ones attribute things backmore into their own families and their own personal experiences, said Komar. Darlene Neveu, a neighbour and family friend, has set up a trustfund for the family.
Anyone wishing to donate can go to any TDCanada Trust branch and ask to make a deposit into the Williamsfamily trust. Neveu said her 12-year-old daughter would miss helping Wynter andDryden get to the bus to go to Belle River public school in themornings, where they were in senior and junior kindergarten. With the tragedy of losing their two children and the dad and theson still with serious illnesses, I m sure they could use somehelp, Neveu said. With files from Doug Schmidt, Kristie Pearce, Canadian Press or Twitter.com/clabrow.
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