Boise, ID trolley accident, Mar 1910


Charles Villenueve Instantly Killed on Boise & Interurban Line.


Inquest to Be Held to Determine Exact Manner of Death.

THE first fatal accident on the Boise & Interurban road happened at 8 o'clock last night, when the car which leaves Boise at 7:30 struck and instantly killed Charles Villenueve, one of the oldest and most respected pioneers of the state, near the Innis ranch, three-quarters of a mile below Pierce park. The car was traveling at a rate of 25 miles an hour when Motorman W. E. Stroupe noticed a man on the track not 150 feet away. Emergency brakes were put on, but not quick enough to prevent killing the unfortunate man, who was apparently dazzled by the bright glare of the headlight on the car. When picked up by the car crew it was found that his skull had been fractured and both legs broken. The remains were at once removed to the undertaking parlors of Schrieber & Sidenfaden. An inquest will be held this morning by Coroner Schrieber.

The deceased, who was 74 years of age, had been working all day at Edgewood, this side of Eagle, at the home of Mrs. Stella Grebst and was returning to Boise on the car due here at 7:15. When the car reached the Innis ranch he got off the car, making the remark to R. D. Webb that he had forgetten his overcoat, and would go back after it. It was his intention, perhaps to catch this car on its return trip and was on the track hailing it when he met his death. The glare of the headlight is given as the possible reason for his not being able to tell just how far he was away from the car or for him to realize that it was coming towards him at such a terrific rate of speed.

Vestibule Damaged.

The panel in front of the vestibule was broken at the point where it is estimated that his head came into contact with the car. Conductor E. D. Brown, as well as Motorman Stroupe, had the remains removed at once to the city on a car which had been trailing the Caldwell car down as far as the barn.

Manager H. E. Dalton of the Boise & Interurban stated, in relating to the story of the accident, as obtained from the employes of the company: "The car got within 150 feet of the man, who was standing with one foot over the rail, before he was noticed. He waved to the car, and the motorman answered with the whistle and applied the air. He saw the man was not trying to get out of the way and turned the air into the emergency and reversed the car. The man did not move from the track and the car hit him, the car running on for a distance of 80 feet, when it was brought to a stop.

"He came up on the same car from Edgewood and got off at the point of the accident or the Innis ranch, making the remark to R. D. Webb, who lives there, to the effect that he had forgetten his overcoat and had gotten off the car to catch the next car back to get it. Mr. Webb stated that he had gone to bed, heard the car coming and had just said to his wife that he guessed the old gentleman was going to catch that car back, when he heard the motorman give the danger signal and make a peculiar noise in stopping, which he had never heard it make before, caused by the appliance of the emergency."

Recognizes Features.

When the remains were borught [sic] to Boise, Coroner Schreiber, upon seeing the body, recognized the face and went to the home of the deceased, at 622 Hays street, to see whether he had been mistaken. He learned there that Mr. Villenueve had not returned from Eagle and his wife and children did not know what had happened to the husband and father. Nick Villenueve accompanied Coroner Schreiber to the undertaking parlors, where the remains were recognized.

The deceased, although a man well advanced in years, was strong and sturdy, having the best of eyesight, and retained all of his mental faculties. No other reason could be given for the accident at a late hour last night by his son, Nick Villenueve, other than that the glare of the headlight must have confused him.

Came as a Young Man.

When the country was torn asunder by the civil war in the early sixties, Charles Villenueve, then a young man, came across the country from Illinois and went into the Boise basin where he engaged in mining. He spent many years of his life in that district, loved and respected by all who knew him. He was married here to Miss Martha Anderson, who now survives him, and the union was blessed by four children, two boys and two girls. A son, Fred, died a few years ago. Besides the widow he is survived by Nick Villenueve, one of the best known and popular of Boise's young men; Mary, a school teacher, and Teresa, a pupil at St. Teresa's acamedy [sic]. He has several brothers and sisters living in Illinois, to whom telegrams were sent late last night.

No arrangements have been made for the funeral as the members of the family were to greatly overcome by the sad blow to make any plans.

The Idaho Daily Statesman, Boise, ID, 12 Mar 1910