Via train, SUV crash kills father and son, may have been deliberate

The Quebec provincial police homicide squad is investigating the crash of a train and an SUV this morning east of Montreal that killed Thierry Patenaude-Turcotte, 42, and 21-month-old Nicolas Patenaude.

Thierry Patenaude-Turcotte, 42, and Nicolas Patenaude, 21 months, killed in collision with passenger train

The impact of the collision with the Via Rail train near Saint-Liboire severed the SUV in two. (Radio-Canada)

The Quebec provincial police homicide squad is investigating the crash of a train and an SUV this morning east of Montreal that killed Thierry Patenaude-Turcotte, 42, and 21-month-old Nicolas Patenaude.

Police confirmed the two victims were father and son. 

They were both in the SUV at the time of the crash just after 7 a.m., which involved a train en route to Quebec City from Montreal.

'It is possible that this was a voluntary act.' — Sgt. Joyce Kemp, Sûreté du Québec

Sources told CBC News that the SUV had passed a number of vehicles using the shoulder of the road before stopping on the tracks.

The investigation has been turned over to the Sûreté du Québec's homicide unit, said Sgt. Joyce Kemp.

"So far, the investigation that has been done at the scene and the meetings that the investigators have had with several people lead us to believe that it is possible that this was a voluntary act," said Sgt. Joyce Kemp of the Sûreté du Québec. 

This afternoon, police spokesman Sgt. Claude Denis told CBC News that the vehicle was parked on the tracks at the time of the crash, but he later said he could not confirm that detail. 

Images from the scene in Saint-Liboire, located about 90 kilometres east of Montreal, show the front of the SUV at the side of the tracks and the rear of the vehicle several hundred metres back. 

A Via Rail spokesman said the barriers and signals at the crossing were functioning properly at the time of the crash. (Radio-Canada)

Jacques Gagnon, a spokesman for Via Rail, said no one on the train was hurt in the collision, but the two engineers were being treated for shock. 

It's still unclear what exactly transpired, but Gagnon said there was no particular concern about safety at that crossing. 

"The information we have from our operations control centre is that the barriers were down and the signals were functioning as they always do," he said. 

He said buses were dispatched to get train passengers to their destination and to handle passengers from other delayed trains. 

Freight service was resumed on the stretch of track by early afternoon.

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating. 

Highway 116 has been closed in both directions at Saint-Liboire.