Colton, CA Train Wreck, Mar 1907

Colton CALIF Train wreck marker 3-28-1907.jpg

Particularly Pathetic Death.

The death of George Sharpe of Muncie, Ind., whose life was instantly crushed out, was particularly pathetic. Sharpe was on his way to this city to meet his wife, from whom he had become estranged three years ago. He had formerly resided here, but when he had become estranged he returned to Indiana. Recently he notified his friends here that he was coming to Los Angeles to see his wife and seek a reconciliation with her. Sharpe did not know that she had secured a divorce from him more than a year ago and had remarried, and was speeding westward happy in the thought of again meeting his wife. Friends of the couple had yesterday gone to the depot to meet Sharpe when he arrived and break the news to him. They reached there only to learn of the wreck and of Sharpe's death.

Morning Olympian, Olympia, WA 30 Mar 1907



Colton, March 30.---The coroner's inquest, held for the purpose of placing the responsibility for the wreck of the Sunset Express near this city, recently, will be completed to-night. Six witnesses have been examined, among them members of the switching crew that has been blamed for the disaster.

The testimony deemed of most importance is that relating to the experience of the men who composed the crew. It was admitted that one had been employed by the company only two days; that the service of a second had been but of two week's duration, and that the third had been employed in the yards three weeks. One, the fireman of the switch engine had never read the rules of the yard.


L. E. Alvord, foreman of the crew, testified that he had been notified at 5 o'clock that the overland was eight hours late and that he had received no subsequent notification of its whereabouts. The other members of the crew had received the information concerning the overland through Alvord. Further than this, each man testified that up to the moment of its appearance they believed that the overland had already passed the switch.

The corrected list of dead is twenty-two. Eighteen of these were Italians nearly all of whom were immigrants on their way to San Francisco. The others were:

ALBERT W. SHIE, mail clerk, Los Angeles;
GEORGE L. SHARPE, Muncie, Ind.;
H. I. WALTERS, Sacrameto, Cal.;
PATRICK EGAN, Southern Pacific section foreman, residence believed to be Colton.


EGAN, who died last night is not believed to have been aboard the wrecked overland. He was found unconscious near the scene of disaster and taken to Los Angeles. His death is believed to be due to an epileptic fit, induced by witnessing the accident.

Fully half a dozen of the injured are today reported in a condition so precarious that death is but a matter of hours. With but four exceptions all the injured have been moved to Los Angeles or have proceeded on their journeys.

The Evening News, San Jose, CA 30 Mar 1907



COLTON, Cal., April 2.---The verdict of the coroner's jury summoned to investigate the wreck at Colton last Thursday in which 22 people lost their loves and nearly 100 more were injured, was returned this evening. The foreman of the switching crew and his assistant are saddled with the responsibility for the wreck through criminal negligence. The engineer of the wrecked Overland train is declared guilty of negligence through running too fast; the Southern Pacific is censured for operating the frail cars in which many of the Italian Immigrants were killed.

The Idaho Daily Statesman, Boise, ID 3 Apr 1907