Bradford jury finds no cause of fatal wreck
Engineer thinks wheels of pony truck may have come loose
Track in A1 Condition
Bradford, April 20.—The cause of the accident which resulted in the death of Joseph W. Brooks , Toronto engineer of the Winnipeg express which was derailed at Bradford Station last Saturday, April 14, was not determined at the Coroner's inquest, which was held in the Town Hall here today. Before a jury empanelled by Coroner Dr. J.A. Cummings of Bond Head, witnesses, composed of Canadian National Railways employees, were able to throw but little light on the fatal wreck.
Wheels came loose?
Charles H. Connel, District Engineer of North Bay, who was introduced to the jury as being an expert on track construction, expressed the only opinion as to the cause of the accident that was given. From this investigations he was able to proffer the theory that the rear wheels of the pony truck in the front of the locomotive came loose and finally threw the engine off the track. He reached that opinion from examination of the marks made on the ties by a set of wheels from where the engine and cars left the track.
"But from the information available, I doubt that we will ever know the real cause of the accident," he said. "We have numerous accidents to which we cannot assign the cause."
He testified that he didn't believe the speed of the train would have any bearing on the cause of the derailment and that the trailing pony truck would lessen the momentum. He also didn't think that the engineer would have any knowledge of the loose wheels, as the weight of the locomotive was born by the driving wheels. He classed the track as being in A1 condition.
Enveloped in steam.
Frank Green of Toronto, the fireman who escaped from the overturned locomotive, saw nothing wrong with the track and thought the engine was running perfectly. He believed the speed of the train was about 43 miles per hour at the time of the accident. The last he remembered of Brooks was the engineer standing at his throttle enveloped in a cloud of scalding steam. He stated the engine was last inspected by Brooks at Allandale Sstation.
Evidence concerning the state of the track was given by Section Foreman Raymond Sexon and his two assistants. They all testified that the track and the roadbed were in good repair.
The jury found that the death of Brooks was caused by suffocation, scalding, and shock, resulting from the derailment of the train of which was engineer. From a lack of sufficient evidence they were unable to determine the exact cause of the derailment.
The Crown was represented by F. G. Evans of Orillia.