Nearly 82 years ago, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Constable Alfred J. Ferguson died following a car crash near Vankleek Hill, and now a landmark local overpass is named after him.
On April 12, OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique was joined at the Hawkesbury OPP detachment by descendants of Ferguson to officially dedicate the Highway 34 overpass at Highway 417 as the Constable Alfred J. Ferguson Memorial Bridge.
According to May 30, 1940, edition of the Eastern Ontario Review, on May 23 of that year, Ferguson’s motorcycle collided with a car which was ascending a hill and trying to pass a horse and cart, while also avoiding a head-on collision with a truck, on Highway 34 south of the former Canadian Pacific Railway crossing near Vankleek Hill. The former railroad line is now the Prescott and Russell Recreational Trail.
Ferguson, whose badge number was 32, was 38 years old at the time of the crash and was a married father of a 12-year-old son. He was originally from Mallorytown in Leeds County. He was also a member of the Hawkesbury Curling Club, a member of the Masonic Lodge, Rotary Club, and Rector’s Warden at Trinity Anglican Church in Hawkesbury. Ferguson had begun his policing career with the former Department of Public Highways of Ontario Traffic Patrol, which was eventually folded into the OPP.
At the time of his death, then OPP Commissioner William H. Stringer said Ferguson was one of the best traffic officers in the region and province.
“We all know policing is a profession with great risks,” Commissioner Carrique said.
“He will always be a proud part of our history and our policing family,” added the Commissioner.
Naming the bridge at the Highway 417 and Highway 34 interchange after Constable Alfred Ferguson is the latest in a series of ongoing dedications of highway bridges across Ontario in memory of fallen police officers from the OPP, RCMP, municipal police departments, and military police.