Sidney, OH Trolley Collision, Aug 1908

Sidney OHIO Electric Rail wreck 1908.jpg

CARS CRASH ON CURVE.

FOUR KILLED AND NEARYL FORTY INJURED, ONE FATALLY.

WRECK ON TROLLEY RAILROAD.

TWO LIMITEDS ON THE WESTERN OHIO TRACTION COLLIDE THROUGH A MISTAKE IN ORDERS -- WERE TO MEET ON A SIDING SELDOM USED.

Piqua, O., Aug. 11. -- Four persons were killed and nearly forty others injured, one fatally, when two limited suburban electric cars of the Western Ohio Traction company collided at a sharp curve a few miles north of here last night.
The dead:
WILLIAM BAILEY, car inspector, Piqua, O.
JAMES KEHOE, clerk at the National Cash Register works, Dayton, O.
GEORGE ROBERTSON, Sidney, O., clerk in building and loan association.
WILLIAM McCLELLAND, railroad employe, Lockington, O.
Fatally injured:
C. M. HUMELHAUSER, Detroit, Mich.
Both trolley cars were late and in addition to their usual high speec, are said to have been making up lost time. It is said that the southbound car from Sidney had orders to reach and lay over at a seldom used siding just south of Sidney, there to wait until the northbound car rounded a curve just before reaching the switch, the northbound car hove in sight. In an instant there was a crash. The southbound car was telescoped and almost completely reduced to splinters. It was on the car that the greatest number were injured.
Inspector BAILEY jumped from his car and was killed. The passengers in neither car had the slightest warning. The cars were crowded. The passengers were hurled forward by the impact and thrown in heaps among the broken seats and splintered glass and timbers. Ahelby county infirmary, near the scene of the wreck, sent employes to the scene and with their help the injured wree removed to the infirmary, which was made a temporary hospital.
Few escaped without some minor hurt.
William Morgan, a farmer, who was the first man to reach the spot, said: "Both cars were piles of kindling. There was a strange silence. I didn't hear a moan when I first reached the place. I seemed as though everybody must be dead or unconscious."
"Even the two or three passengers who escaped serious harm must have been stunned. There was not a sign of life for fully a minute after I got there."
"I pulled a timber off a man's leg and he looked up with a silly smile asking: 'Have you a buttonhook?'"
"Then he burst out into idotic laughter. There was a hole in his head. Something rolled against my foot. It looked like a human head. Then I caved in."
"When I came to, a small army of farmers and other men were working like demons to get at and liberate the folks in the wreck. I joined them."
So far as known only one man escaped without a scratch.
Coroner Costello of Shelby county will probably prosecute Motorman HARRY HALE, of the South bound car if HALE survives, and also conductor JAMES BERRY. The charge will be manslaughter.
It is said that this crew, being late, violated orders and tried to make a switch other than the one ordered. General Manager Carpenter of the Western Ohio, and General Passenger Agent Price will not make any statements, except that whoever was to blame must be held responsible.

The Syracuse Herald New York 1908-08-11