Seven Stars, PA Bridge Collapse, Jul 1919


New York Man Injured at Seven Stars Sues Bridge Builder


Case to Come Up Soon Before District Court. John W. Keir, Plaintiff, Was Badly Injured.

As the result of an accident occurring in Adams county nearly two years ago John W. Keir, of New York City, has brought suit against the building firm of W. H. Murphy and Sons for $25,000. The case is scheduled to come before the United States District Court in Harrisburg May 10 or shortly thereafter.

Mr. Keir is the man who was severely injured when the bridge a few feet east of the Western Maryland railroad tracks at Seven Stars caved in and the automobile in which he was riding tumbled into the stream eight feet below, July 22, 1919 was the date of the accident.

As Mr. Keir, a resident of New York state, is suing Mr. Murphy, a resident of Pennsylvania, the latter has the right to resort to the Federal court as a place for trial. Therefore the case will not be heard in Gettysburg but in Harrisburg.

The three men in the machine, John W. Keir, his brother, James N. Keir, also of New York; and Evans Harris, Wichita, Kansas, had a narrow escape from death during the accident which has resulted in the $25,000 law suit. The tourists were traveling from Wichita Falls, Texas, to New York City and had traveled approximately 3,000 miles when they reached Seven Stars. A short distance east of that village they were stopped as they approached the bridge under construction.

As the bridge over a small stream there was a process of construction at that time a temporary span had been thrown to the south of the road to allow machines to pass. A truck was stuck on that bridge, however, and it was necessary for the tourists to pass over the span if they desired to continue their journey.

According to the information given out a short time after the accident one of the workmen said to Mr. Keir, "You have about a six inch clearance and you will have to drive carefully." Proceeding with great caution the car commenced to cross the bridge when the parapet gave way allowing the road bed to cave in and the car to tumble bottom side up into the ditch below. Workmen at once raised the machine to allow the men to crawl out but John W. Keir was unconscious and had to be rushed to a physician in Gettysburg.

As the result of the accident Mr. Keir sustained a dislocated jaw and severe cuts about the face and head. According to his side of the story the accident has greatly hampered him in efforts to secure a livlihood[sic].

The Gettysburg Times, Gettysburg, PA 30 Apr 1921