Cap-Pele, NB Truck - Hay Wagon Collision, Oct 1989



Cap-Pele, New Brunswick (AP) -- A tractor-trailer hauling logs skidded and crashed into a wagon taking people in a family reunion on a hayride Sunday in eastern Canada, local residents said. At least 12 people were reported killed and 45 injured.
Residents said the tractor-trailer dumped its logs on the wagon, pinning and crushing some victims.
Hospital spokesmen in Moncton, about 25 miles away, reported 12 people dead, including five children. They said 45 people were injured.
As many as 50 people were on the family outing, part of a reunion held each Canadian Thanksgiving weekend by the LEGER family and the related McGRAWS. Most were riding aboard a hay-covered wagon towed by a farm tractor.
"It was an awful mess," said VAL GOGEN, who works at a gas station in the village. "The worst thing was that it happened only about 100 yards from the hall where the family reunion was being held."
EDMOND LEGER, a village resident who is not related, said the tractor-trailer jackknifed and fell on the wagon.
"It's a bad thing. They were all related," he said.
LEGER said he knew of at least one man who lost three members of his immediate family. GOGEN said at least one set of parents was killed, leaving some orphans.
The accident occurred on two-lane Highway 945 near Cap-Pele in the southeastern part of New Brunswick, an eastern Canadian province.
"The truckload of pulpwood ended up on the people when it failed to negotiate the curve," said another village resident, GERRY LeBLANC.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police based in Shediac were trying to determine exactly what happened, but Staff Sgt. LEN DOUCET said two pickup trucks also were involved. LEGER said the pickups were following the hayride and also were carrying members of the LEGER family.
"It's a terrible thing because everybody knows everybody around here," said CECILE CORMIER, an ambulance worker. "They celebrate every year, and I guess ... it was not the right time this year."
SHELDON LEE, New Brunswick's transportation minister, reached at his home in St. George, pledged a thorough investigation.
People on hayrides have been involved in several accidents in recent years, but none so bad.
In September 1984, four youths died during a hayride near Bethel, Ontario. A car hit them while they were changing hay wagons.

The Post-Standard Syracuse New York 1989-10-09