Monday, February 17, 1964
Dante Sdraulig - born May 15, 1934
Ferruccio Babudro - born February 27, 1938
Dante Sdraulig (age 29 years) and his brother-in-law Ferruccio (age 26 years) were on their way back from the Great West Timber Company plant (a lumber supply store) in Thunder Bay, Ontario after ordering more supplies. Dante, with Ferruccio's help was building a new family home located at 52 N. Clarkson Street. At 1:40 pm their car was struck on the 7-track Clavet Street level crossing by the CPR's 15 car passenger train "The Canadian" which was travelling at 30-35 miles per hour.
The 1962 Meteor was pushed 75 feet down the tracks after being hit in the passenger side front quarter panel. The sedan was sheared off and the engine ended up in the trunk.
Strings of boxcars had been parked on the fourth set of tracks within 47 feet of the crossing. There were strings of boxcars parked on the second set of tracks within 37 feet of the crossing. The accident occurred on 7th set of tracks. Rules set out by the Board of Transport Commissioners stated that railway cars should be parked at least 100 feet away from any crossing.
Clearly visibility of on-coming trains was inhibited, but what about hearing the approaching train? Trains would normally blow their whistles when approaching an unprotected crossing but a city ordinance prevented the engineers from doing so within city limits. Additionally, trains would routinely cut their engines when they reached Current River and coast the downgrade to the station. Add a typical winter day where the windows were rolled up and the cars heater on and you can see the odds were stacked against them.
Both men were killed instantly. Dante, who was thrown from the vehicle, died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Ferruccio died of hemorrhage and shock. It was never proven who had been driving at the time of the impact.
Despite an ensuing inquest that recommended changes to the level crossing, 11 years later nothing had changed including the practice of parking box cars dangerously close to the level crossing.
Dante left behind:
- Livia, wife - age 24 years
- Sandra, daughter - age 3 years
- Elizabeth, daughter - age 2 years
- Ronald, son - age 1 year
- Linda, daughter - age 1 month
- 5 brothers and their families - Armando, Camillo, Giordano, Mario, Luigi
- Antonia and Guiseppe Sdraulig, parents
Ferruccio left behind:
- Livia, sister
- Egidio, brother
- 7 nieces and nephews
- Angelo and Maria Babudro, parents