Detroit, MI Street Car Freight Train Wreck, Apr 1915
13 KILLED IN RAILROAD WRECK.
MANY INJURED WHEN FREIGHT CARS CRASH INTO CROWDED STREET CAR.
MOTORMAN STARTED TO CROSS THE TRACK AFTER BEING SIGNALED TO LET FREIGHT PASS.
Detroit, April 15. -- Thirteen persons were killed and about 20 were injured late Wednesday in a collision between a Detroit city street car and a string of freight cars pushed by a switch engine on the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton railroad. Most of the dead are foreigners whose homes were beyond the western limits of the city. Four of them are women.
The street car, one of the largest in service, was heavily loaded with passengers homeward bound from their day's work.
As the car approached the railroad crossing, it stopped and the conductor ran ahead to see if the track was clear. He signalled the motorman to wait, but apparently the latter, who is said to have been inexperienced, misunderstood his meaning. He applied the power and the can ran rapidly down an incline and on to the railroad tracks.
A string of freight cars, being pushed by a switch engine, struck the street car fairly in the middle, smashing it almost to bits. The wreckage was pushed along a hundred feet, several of the dead and injured dropping along the street before the train was brought to a stop, while others were scattered about for some distance.
Others were crushed in the splintered mass of steel and wood and it was several hours before they could be extricated and their exact number known.
As the dead were taken from the debris they were laid in a row along the street and covered with canvas, pending the arrival of the coroner. Later they were removed to various undertaking establishments.
Many private automobiles rushed to the scene of the accident, and these, together with the ambulances which responded to the call for help, carried the injured to the hospitals. Several of those so removed, were so badly hurt, it is said, they may die.
At the place where the accident occurred the railroad tracks occupy a narrow street. On the one corner of the intersection stood a grocery store and on the opposite side, the Delray station of the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton railroad. Both these buildings were struck by the street car as it was carried along in front of the freight car and partially demolished. No occupant of either structure was injured.
The prosecutor's office and the state railroad commission early today started investigation into the fatal crash. Only eight of the victims of the crash had been identified today. Hundreds of relatives and friends of persons missing from their homes since the accident and others merely curious filed slowly down the long row of bodies in the morgue attempting identification.
First result of the triple probe of the tragedy came early today when J. C. WESTOVER, apprentice motorman in charge of the wrecked steel car at the time of the collision, and RICHARD VALLADE, his instructor were locked up at Central police station on charges of manslaughter.
Evening Chronicle Marshall Michigan 1915-04-15
A revised list of the victims, twelve women and three men, was given out tonight as follows:
MISS GAIL GLADYS GEORGE.
MRS. SOPHIA BLES.
MISS ODELLA BOURGEOIS.
MRS. VALERIA CLUS.
MISS ANNA FREDERL.
MRS. ELIZABETH GAWARZVSKI
MISS MARY WAWRO.
MRS. SOPHIA WAJOWSZIC.
MISS WERONICKA ZOUCHA.
MISS ANNA ZAJAS.
THOMAS W. SALMONI.
Two of the dead were still unidentified.