Delta throwback: Crash at the track (PHOTOS)

Let’s go back to the summer of 1963 when the Paterson Park harness racing track in Ladner was still going strong but experienced its most horrific incident.

The June 5th edition of the Optimist reported on an accident which took the life of one man and injured 17 others.

article continues below

Two days earlier, after the first race had ended, a car driven by Mrs. Stanley McKeen of Vancouver went out of control, crashed through the east parking lot barrier, hit a rail fence at the side of the track, ploughed through spectators standing, swiped the grandstand, hit a steel post and rebounded through another fence and went another 150 yards, dragging bodies along the way.

Spectators and track officials described the melee as “unbelievable” and how people ran in panic.


delta throwback

Management had a rule that vehicles were not permitted near the track but McKeen had asked permission to drive closer so that she could see the racing from her window.

It’s presumed she stepped on the gas instead of the brakes. People didn’t have a chance to avoid her.

Alex C. McLeod of Richmond died in Vancouver General Hospital of multiple injuries.

Among the many injured were Jimmy and Bruce Baker, three and seven year old sons of a horse owner at the track.


delta optimist throwbacks

Several suffered broken bones.

Dr. T. Vaughan Jones was at Paterson Park when the accident happened and he and two men trained in St. John Ambulance helped attend the injured.

Optimist reporter Don Luke was also on hand and took several dramatic photos of the aftermath.

“Calls were made from the PA system for people with station wagons to transport the injured to hospitals and many drivers came. Ambulances were supplied from Vancouver and New Westminster,” he wrote.

An inquest was held and further safety measures implemented.

Read Related Topics

© Delta Optimist


NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Delta Optimist welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus

    Subscription Club: $5/month or $50/year - Receive monthly deals from local merchants.

Opinion POLL

What are you doing more of while stuck at home?

or  view results