Indianapolis, IN Auto Accident, Sept 1910


Railroad Brakeman, Attracted by Groans, Arrives Too Late to Save Robert E. Morrow.


Machine Salesman Was Driving Is Discovered Demolished Against Abutment.

Clinging to a heavily charged guy wire with a tenacious death grip, the dead body of Robert E. Morrow, 30 years old, a salesman for the Gibson Automobile Company, was found early yesterday morning at the Twenty-first street crossing of the Indianapolis Newcastle & Toledo traction line. An automobile Morrow had been driving was found wrecked against the abutment of a bridge one and one-half miles east of the crossing. Morrow's hat was in the automobile. The salesman was dying when he was found and as there was not one with him the wreck of the automobile, and the fatal accident have not been explained.

Morrow's body was found by Albert Lynch, 180 Neil street, a brakeman on the Belt Railroad, who was attracted to the place by groans. Lynch said when he found Morrow the man was dead. He tried to pull his body from the wire and was shocked so severely he did not attempt it again. The body was released by Detective Harry Ulery, who wrapped a rubber raincoat around Morrow's legs.

Mystery surrounds the case. Morrow spent most of Saturday afternoon demonstrating a car to a prospective purchaser. He went to the showrooms during the evening, lighted the lamps and told the men there he was going for a ride. Persons residing on the road where the car was wrecked said they had seen Morrow driving eastward early in the evening, but did not see him return. They said the car was weaving about in the road.


Indications are that when the car was wrecked it was traveling at a high speed. The abutment of the bridge was cracked and broken, the frame of the heavy car was demolished and broken pieces of the glass windshield were found more than twenty feet distant. The tracks in the road showed that the machine had skidded and had plunged down the embankment, striking the abutment in its course.

Why Morrow left the wrecked car and went to the interurban crossing and how he came in contact with the live guy is conjectural. Coroner Blackwell said Morrow, following the wreck, probably found he would not be able to drive the machine to the city and walked to the crossing to board an interurban car. A deep burn across Morrow's left shoulder seemed to indicate the coroner said, he had fallen against the wire in the darkness and had seized the guy to prevent his falling. Morrow's face bore evidence of cuts suffered in the wreck of his automobile.

Albert Lynch said when the train on which he was a brakeman stopped near the crossing, he heard groans and traced the sound to the interurban tracks. He said the groans were accompanied by the sound of some heavy body lashing its was through deep grass. When he ran across Morrow he said the man was dead and he made one attempt to pull his hands loose from the wire.

The current entered the guy from the trolley wire through a defective insulator. Employes[sic] of the interurban company investigated the case and found at that time there was not sufficient current entering the guy to be fatal. One of the employes[sic] grasped the guy and took the current through his body without receiving a severe shock. It is believed, however, that the heavier current, which killed Morrow, was caused by the downpour of rain, which made the defective insulator a better conductor.


Morrow's body was brought to Indianapolis and taken to the City Morgue, where it remained until later in the day, when it was turned over to Dr. Joseph E. Morrow, the man's father. The dead man was identified through papers he carried in his pocket. Morrow's employers were unable to offer any explanation of the accident. They said they did not know Morrow had ever been on the road before, and that he was not a man given to drink.

Funeral services for Morrow will be held at the chapel of Fianner & Buchanan at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon. He was not married, and had been employed by the Gibson Automobile Company about three months.

The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, IN 19 Sept 1910