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Gary Cane, local veterinarian, killed as train hits his car on Maple Avenue  

Gary Cane, 75, of Mount Washington was traveling west on Route 23, when the northbound train began to cross the road. Cane, a veterinarian, owned Hillsdale Animal Hospital, in Hillsdale, New York.

Editor’s note: this story was updated with new information from Great Barrington Police Chief William Walsh on Friday April 29 at 1:08 pm

Great Barrington — Police say they are still trying to piece together the reasons for an accident in which a Mount Washington man was killed Thursday (April 28) afternoon when a Housatonic Railroad train crossing Route 23/Maple Avenue collided with the driver’s side of his car, flipping it over.

Gary Cane, 76, of Mount Washington was traveling west on Route 23, when the northbound train began to cross the road. Early on at the scene, Great Barrington Police Chief William Walsh said he hadn’t had a chance to talk to witnesses yet, but speculated that Cane had possibly tried to “beat the train,” adding that there was no sense yet of the driver’s speed. Walsh, however, made it clear that it was too early to draw any conclusions.

Today Walsh said by phone that he will know more very soon, particularly when the autopsy report is completed. He also said all witnesses have been interviewed, along with the train engineer and conductor, but that he is still waiting for a report from the State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit. Walsh further said he did not want to release bits of information, and would wait for a more cohesive report.

According to an official Great Barrington Police statement, “upon arrival, police and fire officials found that a late model Jeep Liberty had been traveling westbound on Rt. 23 and approached a grade-level railroad crossing, which had its lights and arms activated, indicating an approaching train. The vehicle apparently struck one of the arms at the crossing and a northbound, 14-car freight train operated by the Housatonic Railroad Company, struck the vehicle.”

When asked if there were any signs of a mishap with the timing of the railroad gates or lights, Walsh said that so far, there wasn’t any indication of this, “but no final conclusions.”

“We have a lot more work to do on the case,” he added.

The accident appeared to have happened around 1 p.m., and by 2 p.m., Great Barrington Police and firefighters were still assembled at the scene, waiting for the State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit to arrive.

The car has been identified as a black, Jeep Liberty SUV, with New York plates. It lay on its roof on the western side of the tracks, the railroad lights still flashing and gates still down, the train still stopped on the north side of the highway. Police closed a long section of Route 23 from all sides.

Cane, a veterinarian who ran a 24-hour emergency clinic, owned Hillsdale Animal Hospital, in Hillsdale, New York. News of his death rocked the tri-state area, and expressions of shock and grief could be found all over Facebook yesterday.

The Edge will continue to update this story as information is made available by Great Barrington Police.

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