Milford, CT Train Wreck, Feb 1916 - Whistle Sounded Warning
"The most curious thing about the wreck that I saw was the boiler of the engine which had struck us. It had been torn clean away and hurled over the freight train into the ditch at the side of the track"
A Government employe[sic] at Washington, who asked that his name be withheld, said that he was most curious to know how the accident could have happened on a day so bright and clear.
"I was sitting in the train," he said, "when suddenly I heard a tremendous whistling. We had stopped, you know, and a few moments before, when I went outside. I saw the engineer and firemen under our locomotive. I said to a friend whom I had met on the train, They'd better get out or we'll be run into standing here, and with that we were struck. The first intimation I had of the real seriousness of the thing was seeing a young girl appear at the door of our coach. She had been thrown out of her seat and every one of her front teeth had been knocked out.
Stupefied by Man's Death.
"Outside the car I saw a farmer standing in a stupefied way beside the wreck. 'Is anybody dead?' I asked him. He looked up in the queerest sort of manner. 'I was just passing here,' he said, 'when I saw the collision. A man who had his legs all smashed just died in my arms. He is there on the tracks.'
"I have no complaint to make with the railroad except they wouldn't tell us anything. Maybe they didn't know, but even now I am not sure whether I saw ten or fifteen bodies on the track, and I don't know whether they were dead."
Charles B. Whittlesey, Vice President of the Hartford Rubber Company, criticized the manner in which the injured were sent away from where the doctors had been summoned. He was horrified at some of the sights he had witnessed.
"I do not know whether it was the fault of the engineer of the train which ran into us or not." he said. "But I do know that I saw that engineer lying half out of his cab with his head crushed like an eggshell. I saw the bodies of two men and women horribly mangled lying under the wrecked seats of the rear coach. Smoke from the ashes of the wrecked locomotive lay like a heavy pall hiding the scene of the accident."
Mr. Corey, who was a Yale football player and Captain of the Yale baseball team in 1911, and is a son of William E. Corey, President of the Midvale Steel and Ordnance Company, said that he was playing bridge with three companions in the second car from the rear of the express train when the local smashed the rear coach.
Before the steel coach lurched to the left, striking the freight train, traveling in the same direction, and was hurled to the other side, John R. Kilpatrick, who was sitting opposite Mr. Corey, dropped his hand in the game, and ran to the narrow space between the linen closets. He braced himself with his hands and feet, and, as he said afterward, "was ready for the next play."
Girl Thrown Through Window.
Mr. O'Brien was bumping around despite Mr. Corey's warning to grasp the supports of the seat. Mr. Johnson, ex-Yale quarter back, who had been sitting next to Mr. Kilpatrick, and was bumping all over the seat, tried to seize one of four girls as she fell from the seat across the aisle, sweeping the cards from the table, and dropped through the window to a snowbank.
"Get the next one," shouted Mr. Corey.
"I will," replied Mr. Johnson, and "tacked" the second girl as she swung, screaming, from her hold in what was dropped for the shattered window. He pulled her back itno[sic] the car, while his companions warned the uninjured girl on the snowbank just under the car to get out of the way so that she would not be crushed if the steel electric power tower backing the car broke under the weight.
By the time a trainman got to the window and advised all the occupants to get, out Mr. Kilpatrick, sure that the car was not going to roll any more, had found that Mr. O'Brien had a wrenched back and gashes on his head.
The four Yale men helped Mrs. Charles H. Harmon of 26 Tracy Avenue, Newark, to gather up her three small children who were scattered about the car. After they had helped every one out, Mr. Corey found that he had lost his hat, and despite warning that the car might roll further down the embankment, went back to get it. The athletes took all the baggage and hats belonging to others out this time.
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