Wilmington, DE Trolley Wreck, May 1901


Three Heavily Loaded Cars on a New Line Run Away - One Man Killed and Many Injured.

Wilmington, Del., May 31. -- Three heavily loaded trolley cars on the new People's Street Railway ran away while going down a steep hill in this city early this morning, killing one man, fatally injuring another and hurting twenty-five others more or less seriously.

JOSHUA GILLMAN, who jumped from a window of the car in which he was riding, fell underneath the wheels and his body was cut in two. ELMER JONES, a conductor of one of the cars, stuck to his post and when the rear car crashed into the one in his charge his legs were broken, one arm was broken and internal injuries were inflicted. His death is momentarily expected.

Two of the cars were closed and the other was an open one. Each carried nearly one hundred passengers returning to the city from Brandywine Park. The line is a new one, having been opened yesterday, and it is presumed the motormen were not yet familiar with heavy grades.

Car No. 16 was in the lead and as car No. 5 began to descend the steep incline the air brakes refused to work. Motorman BENSON reversed the current and this caused the motor to burn out. For some reason the ratchet brake refused to work and the car started on a wild dash down the hill. In a moment it crashed into car No. 16, which was only a short distance ahead, and sent the latter spinning down the hill.

All efforts of Motorman KRAUSS to check the speed of the first car were unavailing and both cars dashed down the hill, bumping into each other at frequent intervals. The passengers became frightened and jumped from the cars, which accounts for the great number injured. Only two or three of those who remained in the cars were hurt.

The two large cars were going at such a great speed that when they reached the base of the incline they were carried some distance up the hill toward Madison street, where they crashed into a summer car which was coming in an opposite direction and several persons in the summer car were seriously injured. Motorman ALBERT FULMER of the summer car did not see the runaway cars until it was too late to avoid the second collision.

Brooklyn Eagle New York 1901-05-31