Wagons of the train wreck are seen in Lac Megantic, in this July 9, 2013 file photo. Along North America's new oil-by-rail corridors, residents are restless, following six fiery derailments in the past 10 months. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger/Files (CANADA - Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER)
A man in his 40s and a one-year-old boy died when the SUV they were riding collided into a Via Rail passenger train at a level crossing in Quebec. Police authorities suspect the collision was intentional on the part of the SUV driver.
"We have car-collision specialists who are here to try to establish exactly what happened where the impact took place," Joyce Kemp, Sûreté du Québec police spokeswoman, told the Canadian Press. "We cannot exclude that this could be a voluntary act and, for that reason, the investigation has been transferred to the homicide squad."
The fatalities were identified as Thierry Patenaude-Turcotte, 42, and 21-month-old Nicolas Patenaude, according to CBC News. The young boy was declared dead after being transported to hospital.
Train 20: involved in crossing accident. Report of car occupant fatality, our thoughts go out to the family. No injuries to pax onboard.
— VIA_Rail (@VIA_Rail) June 2, 2014
Via Rail passenger train had left Central Station in Montreal at 6:15 a.m. It was bound for Quebec City when the collision accident happened.
The black SUV rammed into the passenger train so hard that it was cut in half. Its front and back portions were left 20 metres apart.
A spokesperson from Via Rail said the crossing barriers were down and working perfectly correctly at the time of the impact.
The black SUV, CBC News reported based on eyewitness accounts, had used the shoulder of the road to pass through other vehicles before stopping on the tracks.
No one on the train was hurt in the collision, CBC News quoted Jacques Gagnon, a spokesman for Via Rail. However passengers had to be contained for three hours inside the train where afterwards it left for Drummondville.
"We have sent resources to relieve the engineers because, as you can imagine, this is a very traumatic event," Gagnon said. "We have also dispatched buses to get the passengers off the train."