Hill Top, CO Train Wreck, Feb 1893


Frightful Collision of Midland Passenger Trains Near Hill Top.


Among the Latter is C. M. Stillson, of Aspen, Who Has a Dislocated Ankle, and Both Legs Badly Bruised-Difference In Those Responsible For The Accident.- Wild Rumors Afloat in This City - Passenger Agent Lee Now In this City Knows Little of the Accident.

BUENA VISTA, Colo., Feb 18.- [Special] - A very serious and fatal collision occurred this morning at about 3:30 o'clock on the Colorado Midland railway between the eastbound and westbound passenger trains. The trains collided at a point three quarters of a mile east of Hill Top, not far from the point where the Colorado Midland crosses the Denver, Leadville & Gunnison.

No. 6, the westbound train, had orders to wait at Hill Top on or after 3:32 o'clock and to await the passing of Train No. 2. The eastbound No. 6 had been officially appraised that the western train would be waiting at this station, but her trainmen were not aware as was afterwards proved to be the fact, that their time was one minute and a half ahead of that of No. 2, and after remaining the required time at Hill Top, proceeded on their way, colliding with the westbound train, according to the latter'' time at 3:31 o'clock.

In the crash both of the engines and their two succeeding were almost entirely demolished and the balance of the trains were damaged to a great extent. Dr. Cole and Dr. Gafford, of this city, were telegraphed for and left immediately for the scene of the accident. The three men who met their death were railroad men and are enumerated as follows:

FRANK MCCAMMON, engineer of the eastbound train; residence Colorado City.
FIREMAN MCINTYRE, of the eastbound train; residence Colorado City.
JOE BOWERSOCK, brakeman on the westbound train, residence Colorado Springs.
Engineer Heisler of Train No. 3; considerably bruised.
Mrs. Julia McMullen, of Cardiff, Colo.; dislocated shoulder, both arms and hips are badly bruised, and severe flesh wound of the right thigh.
L. S. Judd, of Leadville; back badly sprained and both ankles bruised.
C. M. Stillson, of Aspen; dislocated foot and both legs badly bruised.
Conductor Riley Miller, of the eastbound train; dislocated shoulder and spine, hips and side of head badly bruised.

Numerous other passengers were badly bruised and severly shaken up. The injured ones were taken to the hospital at Colorado Springs.


At First Eight Persons Were Reported to Have Been Killed.

The information reached Aspen yesterday morning of the wreck and all sorts of rumors prevailed as to the nature of the accident and the loss of life occasioned thereby. At one time the report gained credence that as many as eight persons form Aspen had been killed, but this report was quickly belied by the statement of the Midland cashier that he had sold no tickets Friday night going further than Leadville, while the accident took place twenty miles the other side of that point.

General Passenger Agent Charles S. Lee, of the Midland, arrived in the city on the noon Denver & Rio Grande yesterday and made the following statement regarding the accident: "The report that eight have been killed is without formulation the facts being that the engineer, fireman, brakeman and one passenger were killed and the conductor badly injured. The wreck occurred one-half mile east of Bath station, in South Park, at 3 o'clock this morning. Everything that we can do is being done to relieve the suffering, and the trains will be on time again this afternoon. The wreck caused by the misunderstanding of orders, the full particulars of which are not obtainable at this time."

Later in the day the following information concerning the wreck was telegraphed from Leadville: "Passenger trains No. 2 and 3, Colorado Midland railroad, collided one half mile east of Bath at 3:31 o'clock this morning. Both engines were demolished and derailed together with some of the passenger coaches. Brakeman BOWERSOCK, of Colorado Springs, was instantly killed. Engineer MCCAMMON and Fireman MCINTYRE, of the eastbound engine were buried until their engine and after three hours and a half were taken out terribly scalded and bruised but still alive. Engineer Kissel, of the westbound train, was injured. His fireman escaped by jumping. Conductors Riley Miller and Heap were badly hurt. The killed and injured of the crow all live at Colorado Springs. A lady and gentleman on the eastbound train were seriously hurt, but the rest of the passengers escaped with slight bruises. The cause of the collision is not made clear owing to the excitement caused. Both trained were behind time, and the accident occurred near a siding."

About 7 o'clock last night the Midland officials received a dispatch from Bath, where the collision occurred, from General Manager Collbran, who had arrived upon the scene from Colorado Springs. The information contained in this dispatch is to the effect that Trains No. 2, going east, and No. 3, going west, both traveling at the rate of twenty miles an hour, collided near Bath station, twenty miles east of Leadville, Engineer MCCAMMON and Fireman MCINTYRE, of the eastbound train being killed. Also Brakeman BOWERSOCK of the westbound. Conductor Riley Miller, of the eastbound train and four passengers were slightly injured.

Both baggage cars were destroyed, but the baggagemen [sic] were unhurt. The baggageman [sic] of the eastbound train had been delayed at New Castle and the train had pulled out without him, thus in all probability saving his life. The baggageman [sic] of the other train happened to be back in the passenger coach at the time of the accident.

The track was reported to be clear at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon.

Was In the Wreck.

The midland train came in at 2:30 o'clock this morning bringing several passengers who were in the wreck. Jack Long was interviewed and essentially confirmed the information, above given.

R. E. Judd, of Leadville, was on the eastbound train and sustained serious injury of the spine.

Mr. Long says the eastbound train was running forty miles an hour at the time of the collision and the westbound about fifteen.

Aspen Weekly Times, Aspen, CO 25 Feb 1893