The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

December 7th, 2016

Nov. 8, 1945Springhill RecordC. Otis Ogles Fatally Injured Driver Exonerated

     Struck by a car about 10:20 p.m. Tuesday evening as he was returning to town from a visit with friends near Miller Corner, Charles Otis Ogles passed away before reaching the hospital where he was rushed immediately following the accident.  He leaves a wife and two children.

     The driver of the car, Pte. Robert Smith, 18 years of age, was placed under arrest in connection with the accident.  Smith was alone in the car at the time.  There were no witnesses.

Lurched in Front of Car

     At the inquest, Wednesday afternoon Pte. Smith told the Coroner’s jury that he was on furlough from the Army having recently returned from overseas where he had seen action in Italy and France.  He had left home about 10:15 Tuesday evening to drive his father home from the mine.  He saw a man walking on his side of the road toward while he was a pole length away.  When he was about ten feet away the man seemed to lurch out into the road.  He tried to swing the car out but there was no time and he struck the man.  He stopped the car and returned to the scene of the accident.  A car approached and Lorne Hunter, of Rodney, helped him get the man in his car and rushed him to the hospital.  He thought he smelled liquor off the man.  He thought the man was still alive when he reached the hospital, where Dr. Carson Murray took charge. 

     Pte. Smith admitted under questioning that his brakes were not very good, although new lining had been put on the brakes not long ago, but needed adjusting.  He said he had known for a couple of days the brakes were not good.  He told the Jury he had been driving for two years and did not drink liquor.

Lorne Hunter Gives Evidence

     Lorne Hunter of Rodney who happened along at the time of the accident, said he stopped and gave Smith a hand at getting the injured man into Smith’s car.  He went to the hospital and thought the man was alive when they reached the hospital.  He told the jury he thought he smelled liquor off the man.

Was Drinking

     Harold Boyce told the jury that Mr. Ogles had been drinking in the afternoon while with him.  They had driven to Amherst and Mr. Ogles had part of a bottle when they parted on their return home.

Saw Mr. Ogles

     Mrs. John Harroun supported the evidence of other witnesses that the accident victim had been under the influence of liquor early in the evening.

Brakes Bad

     Charlie O’Brien of Carter’s Garage told the jury the brakes on Smith’s car were very bad.  He had been instructed to examine the car by the Police after the accident.  He said it would take 50 feet to stop the car travelling at 25 miles per hour and that on Main Street it would have been impossible to stop the car going down the hill. 

    Arthur Sears, taxi man, said he had taken Mr. Ogles out to the Athol Road from the Orangeman’s Hall on Main Street.  He had taken him about a half a mile past where the  the way out. 

Takes Measurements

     Deputy Chief Leo McDonald told of the measurements he had taken at the scene of the accident.  He had checked the car and found the brakes inadequate to control the car.  The lights were poor and there was no horn.  He had authorized Officer Bonnyman and Cpl. Wigglesworth, R.C.M.P. to have Charles O’Brien examine the car.

Dead When He Reached Hospital

     Dr. Carson Murray told the jury Mr. Ogles was dead when he reached the hospital.  He had found on examination that Mr. Ogles had suffered a fractured skull.  There was a cut three or four inches on the back of his head and other bruises.  He didn’t think the impact of the car would have to be very great to cause the injuries. 

     The jury retired to consider the evidence and were only out a few minutes when they returned with the verdict exonerating the driver and recommending that the local police check more closely on car brakes.

The Jury

     Mr. Charles Meagher was Foreman of the jury.  Other members were Horace Buck, Obe Atkinson, Arthur Amon, Garfield Skelton, Frank Hollis, John Venus, Leo Matthews, Arthur White, Russell Letcher, Roderick McDonald, and Ron Gillis.

     R.O. Lusby, Crown Prosecutor, handled the case for the Crown.  The Coroner was Pat Terrio of Joggins.


     It is rather a coincidence that 5 years ago this month Robert Smith’s sister was killed in an accident near Melanson’s on the Valley Road while riding in a truck.  Arnold Brine was the driver of the truck.

     About two years ago, James Ogles, father of C. Otis Ogles, was struck by a car on the Flat and sustained a broken leg.  It was a hit and run case, but the Police rounded up those involved, although they were exonerated.


Errors or omissions please report to the