American Falls, ID Train Wreck, May 1897

A Head-End Collision Kills Nine Men and Injures Eight Others Seriously

A head-on collision between a freight and a passenger train at American Falls, Idaho, caused the death of nine men and the serious injury of eight others, two of whom will die. This is the worst wreck that has occurred on the Short Line in many years.

The westbound passenger train was waiting for the freight at American Falls, standing in front of the station building. The freight coming east ran away on the hill west of the Falls. It is thought that the air brakes were tampered with. The freight, running fifty miles an hour crashed into the passenger train. Two men were on the station platform; one was killed and the other fatally injured. The station building was shattered. Both engines were converted into scrap-iron, and twenty freight cars piled up in a heap. Several box-car passengers, sheep-shearers and tramps, were crushed to death.

Those killed are: C.W. SHIELDS, age 35, home unknown; D.L. THOMPSON, Dayton, Wash.; JOHN R. COOPER, Wellsville, Utah; J. STEFFEN, Dillon, Mont.; five unknown men, all sheep-shearers, beating their way.

The County Record
June 3, 1897
page 3