Stevens Point, WI Train Accident, May 1908



A fatal accident took place in the Wisconsin Central yards near the round house at 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, when a middle aged man was run over by a freight train and cut in two.

Train No. 24 from the west had just pulled into the yards and stopped in a position so that the forward end of the train was between the round house and the Michigan avenue crossing. The crew immediately set to work to switch out the cars consigned to this station and in doing so the train was cut in two near the head end and the front section moved forward and then backed on an adjoining track.

After the train was cut in two M.E. KENYON, engineer on the switch engine, who was standing near the round house, saw a man jump out of an empty car in the rear section of the train and begin looking around as if to get his bearings. He crossed over the adjoining track and then turned back and as he recrossed the track he fell. Although he appeared to have plenty of time to get up and save himself, for some reason he failed to do so. Before anyone could attempt to save him he was struck by the cars, and run over as above stated, the wheels passing over his body at the hips.

CORONER BOSTON was summoned and attended to the legal formalities regarding the care of the remains, after which the body was removed to the Boston undertaking house.

A man from Plainfield who stood on the Central platform as train 24 pulled in said this man stepped up to him and asked him how far it was to Custer and if this train stopped there. He was told that it did not, but he appeared to get on regardless.

The engineer on No. 24 was BOB BECK of Fond du Lac and HARRY PETTINGILL was the conductor. They did not see the man nor know of the accident until it was all over.

When the man’s pockets were searched for identification nothing was found on him except a Wisconsin Central time card and a number of begging cards usually used by professional tramps. The card contained the usual doggerel verse asking the recipient “to give what you can.” He was comfortably dressed, wearing a good pair of shoes and had just purchased and put on a new pair of socks and another pair was found in the box car. In the opinion of the coroner the man was under 35 years of age. He wore a short, stubby, reddish mustache. He was of medium height and rather stockey [sic] build.

In addition to the body being cut in two one arm was badly cut and nearly twisted off and there were also severe bruises about his head. Three cars passed over him. Death was doubtless instantaneous.

Considering all the conditions regarding the death an inquest was deemed unnecessary.

In the absence of any positive evidence of identification the body will be interred by the city and the expense charged up against the county.

The Stevens Point Journal, Stevens Point, WI, 2 May, 1908