St. Georges, DE Freighter WAUKEGAN Hits Bridge, Jan 1939

Bridge wreckage

TWO DEAD IN DEL. BRIDGE CRASH.

FREIGHTER CAPTAIN WHICH HIT ST. GEORGE SPAN HELD; INJURED MAN DIES.

Death of a second man resulted at 1 a.m. today following destruction yesterday of the half-million dollar St. Georges lift bridge over the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal by the 6,000 ton freighter WAUKEGAN, which had as its aftermath the arrest of this captain and two others from the ship.
The dead are:
WILLIAM F. OAKES, 45, bridge electrician, in the St. Francis Hospital. He was injured in a desperate leap from the span's control house.
ROBERT QUINN, 45, bridge tender, killed instantly. His body was not immediately recovered.
Those arrested are Capt. JOHN R. REYNOLDS, master of the freighter; his quartermaster, WILLIAM INGRAM of Norfolk, Va., and Delaware River pilot F. LEROY TAYLOR. The three were held last night under $5,000 bail each on charges of manslaughter and assault and battery. Denying the vessel's steering mechanism had been fouled, the captain placed the blame for the disaster on swift currents in the canal when he was arraigned before Magistrate HOWARD J. CROSSLAND at St. Georges with the petty officer and the pilot.
Inspectors of the U.S. Maritime Commission attended the brief hearing while employes of the U.S. Engineers pressed a search of the wreckage for the body of the bridge tender.
Captain REYNOLDS testified that the rudder was in working order, but that the strength of the tide under the bridge swerved the bow of the ship to one side and the length of the vessel made it impossible to swing it back into the channel in time to avoid the crash.
Quartermaster INGRAM, answering questions by Lieut. RODGER P. ELDERKIN, who investigated for the state police, said the vessel had been responding to the wheel until the accident. The quartermaster was the helmsman.
There was no testimony from TAYLOR. Pilots seldom take the wheel. They merely give directions to the helmsman. Lieutenant ELDERKIN said he signed the warrants charging both manslaughter and assault and battery even though the bridge tender's body had not been recovered.
C. W. MEYERS, resident engineer at Chesapeake City, said divers would resume the search for the bridge tender's body today. The search was abandoned after nightfall.

Chester Times Pennsylvania 1939-01-11