Cameron, CO Train Wreck, Jul 1904



Three Killed and More Than Forty Injured by Runaway Car Near Cameron.

Denver, July 6. --- Three persons were killed and more than forty injured, some of them dangerously, by the running away of a passenger car on the Short Line railroad at 8:30 o'clock last night, while the train was being remade up at Cameron for splitting into two trains, one for Cripple Creek, the other for Victor.

A Republican special says: At Cameron, before the train is broken, the Cripple Creek passengers are told to take the rear car known as the observation car. The Victor passengers take the coach in the middle of the train which is switched off.

The train was on time arriving at Cameron and the cars were crowded. The switching had commenced. Without warning, after the car had been cut out, it suddenly started down the grade. The brakeman, A. B. ROSS, rushed to the air brake, found it worthless and advised the passengers to jump. About fifty took this advice before the car gained the terrible momentum in its nearly three-quarters of a mile run before it was ditched.

Losing control it shot down the heavy grade with ever increasing speed, whipping around curves and threatening destruction of all occupants at any moment.

T. P. AIRHEART, a prominent Mason, one of the largest owners of real estate in this city, with KEARNS, made an heroic attempt to save the lives of their fellow passengers. Realizing the speed the car was making, MR. AIRHEART ran into the car and said: "Boys, let's go to the brake." FRED MILLER, one of them, and J. KEARNS, a stranger in camp, responded and they were heroically attempting to stop the car when it jumped the track.

This it did at bridge No. 18, on a sharp curve. It rolled down an embankment ten feet high and was smashed out of all shape, pinning the passengers into all manner of tangles of debris. Few escaped injury.

AIRHEART, KEARNS and MILLER were caught where they had stood together struggling with the brakes. The two first named were killed instantly. MILLER was caught on top of them and while severely injured may survive.

All of the passengers were so pinned in the wreckage that none of them could render assistance.
People of Cameron had witnessed the accident and hastened to render help. The injured were drawn out as fast as reached.

DR. TORRANCE was in the rear end of the car with his wife. His right arm was ground off and he bled to death.

The excitement and darkness rendered the assistance difficult.

Men and women, bleeding and bruised, were literally dragged from the car.

Word reached Cripple Creek and created intense excitement. Many had friends and relatives returning on the train from their holiday excursions.

A special train was made up on the Midland Terminal and hurried to Cameron with physicians and helpers. Nurses were sent out on a special from Victor. The Short Line turned every available man to the work of rescue.

The accident has cast a gloom over the district.

The majority of the passengers were residents of Cripple Creek but there are a number whose names were unobtainable last night, residents of other towns in the district. These were not reported seriously injured.

Two of the men killed were among the most prominent in Cripple Creek. T. P. AIRHEART was one of the pioneer real estate investors. He owns a large amount of real estate, is a man of money, a money-lender, and stood high in Masonic circles. He was a leader of the business element of the city. Was about fifty-five years of age and has grown sons and a wife living in Cripple Creek.

DR. TORRANCE was one of the leading physicians, also a pioneer, and had a large number of friends. He was a prominent member of the Elks, the Eagles and other fraternities. Was popular with all classes.

J. KEARNS, who was killed, was a Colorado Springs man who had lived in Denver. He was wounded in action in the Spanish war. He had attended Colorado College. He was on his way to Cripple Creek to enter the employ of a mining company when killed.

W. O. DRESSER, one of the men badly hurt, was the last to jump. In his arm was the baby of MRS. HANES, who escaped uninjured. DRESSER sustained severe injuries to his head and back, but the baby was uninjured.

This accident is the first of any nature jeopardizing the life of a passenger on the line since the road was put in operation three and a half years ago. Until recently, all the switching at Cameron was done on a level side track, and no car was permitted to be left standing on a grade without an engine being attached.

Range Ledger Colorado 1904-07-07