Tragedy strikes La Broquerie, senior killed after collision with train

The community of La Broquerie is coming to grips with a tragic and disturbing incident at what was supposed to be a fun day for families over the weekend, and offering mental health support for those who may have witnessed it.

“It’s a tough day for sure,” La Broquerie Reeve Ivan Normandeau said on Monday. “It’s a tragic incident, and because of the amount of people at the scene this has been hard on a lot of people.

“And there were a lot of kids, so it’s been hard on kids.”

On Sunday, La Broquerie, a community southeast of Winnipeg near Steinbach, hosted its annual Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day parade, and like similar events held in rural communities across the province in summer, the day is meant to be a celebration, and a way to bring community members together.

Normandeau confirmed that around 12:40 p.m. Sunday, as the parade was coming to an end, a 78-year-old woman was struck by a train at a train crossing at Rue Principale, near where the event took place, but he said out of respect for the family of the victim the RM would not be releasing the woman’s name.

RCMP also confirmed the woman’s death on Monday and said she was from Winnipeg and was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

With so many witnesses to the incident, Normandeau said the RM is now focused on offering mental health services for children and adults, while they grieve for the victim and her family, and cope with the aftermath.

“We are really ramping up the supports at this time, and a lot of it has been in the schools, because there were so many kids,” he said. “I’ve spoken to the local school divisions and they are making sure that if children need they can talk to a professional.”

Normandeau added there is a Shared Health crisis line available to youth and adults in the community who may need to reach out for mental health supports at 1-888-310-4593.

He also reminds people that many of the first responders who dealt with the disturbing scene are volunteer firefighters who would have been at the parade with friends and family taking part in the event.

“I would say more than 90% of those guys would have been there and possibly every one of them, and the majority of guys are planning on spending the afternoon with the family at the parade, and next thing you know this happens and it’s all hands on deck.

“It’s tough, because it can affect the entire family.”

The reeve said the community is grateful for the work first responders did at what would have been a difficult and disturbing scene.

“A big thank you to all the volunteer firefighters, and the RCMP and all emergency workers, because it’s time like this that they have to be there for everyone.”

RCMP said on Monday they, along with CN police, are investigating the incident.

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun