Adobe Station, CO Head-On Train Collision, Mar 1906


Fatal Disaster on the Denver and Rio Grande Railway.


Express and Local Meet Head-On While Going at High Speed on a Curve Near Adobe, Col. -- Enginees and Coaches Turn Over and Flames Add to Horror.

Pueblo, Col. -- In a blinding snowstorm which prevailed in the Arkansas Valley, trains No. 16 east-bound and No. 3 west-bound, on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, collided, head-on at Adobe Station, near Portland, Col., about thirty miles west of Pueblo, at two o'clock a.m.
The accident brought death in most horrible form to at least thirty-five persons. Half of them were incinerated so completely that identification in some cases is impossible, and the exact number of dead may never be determined. The injured number about twenty and all will recover.
Engineer WILLIAM HOLLIS, of No. 16, and Engineer WILLLIAM CONSULLETTE, of No. 3, are among the dead. The fireman on No. 16 was also killed, but J. H. SMITH, fireman of No. 3 escaped by jumping being badly hurt.
Express Messenger McCARTLAND, of Denver, on No. 16, caught under the wreckage and burned to death while persons stood by helpless. Some tried to stop the flames by throwing snow on the man, but he finally succumbed.
The majority of the dead were passengers in the forward coach of No. 3. How many met their fate may never be known, as this car, together with ten others, was entirely consumed by the fire which started two minutes after the locomotives came together.
The appalling loss of life was caused by explosion of an acetylene gas tank in the smoking car of one of the trains. At first, terrified by the crash and flames, most of the occupants were stupefied by the gas and dropped down in the wreckage to be burned. Only two passengers escaped from the car in which the explosion occurred.
One man in the car where the explosion managed to raise a window and got part way through when his body stuck and the flames swept over him. Roasting alive, he begged that he be shot. A burning beam fell upon his head and ended his suffering, while fellow passengers stood by, helpless to save him and others who perished in plain sight.
One of the pathetic tragedies of the disaster was the wiping out of all except two of the eleven members of the HEWITT family, of Lebo, Kan. The two surviving sons, E. A. and W. L. HEWITT, are among the injured in a Pueblo hospital. Their father, mother, wives and children were all burned after the two men had struggled desperately to release them from the debris.
Two stumps of arms with handcuffs clasped on the bones, lying in the ashes near an officer's revolver, told of the end of Deputy Sheriff BAIRD and his prisoner WHITNEY. WHITNEY was an actor who passed some bad checks while stranded in Denver. WHITNEY was an assumed name. He was on his way to the penitentiary.
A dozen injured were rushed to Pueblo on a relief train. The scenes at the wreck, after the cars began to burn, were too horrible to describe. One man, badly hurt was pinioned under an iron rod. He begged the other passenger to help him. They worked until the flames reached the spot, when the man said:
"I am too badly hurt to want to live. Save yourselves and let me die."
A man and his wife were trying to get out of one of the car windows when an iron rod caught them. They were burned alive, together with their little child, which was near them.
Another man begged to be taken from the wreck. When the rescuers took hold of his hands all the flesh came off the bones. He was dead a moment later.
Almost every person killed in the wreck was cremated and little remains except blackened timbers and twisted rods, with here and there a pile of ashes.
The impact overturned both locomotives. A smoking car and a day coach on the express were also thrown violently off the track and upset. Fire stated immediately in both these cars, and it is said that few of the passengers in either of them escaped.

Chateaugay Record New York 1906-03-24

Listings of Dead and Injured from The Ogden Standard Utah 1906-03-16 and 1906-03-17
WALTER COSSLOTT, engineer No. 3, Pueblo; wife and three children.
WILLIAM HOLLIS, engineer No. 16.
HUGH SMITH, fireman No. 16, Pueblo.
E. M. McPARLAND, Globe Express messenger No. 16.
F. D. BAIRD, Deputy Sheriff, Denver.
R. G. WHITNEY, convict, Denver.
A. N. BAIRTIO, Salida.
PEARL HEWITT, 15 years of age, Lebo, Kans.
CLAUDIUS HEWITT, her son, four months old, Lebo, Kans.
ED COWLEY, Emporia, Kans.
GRACE COWLEY, and BABY, Emporia, Kansas.
FRED JONES, Lebo, Kans.
MRS. BELLE WEBB, Keystone, Wyo.
RAY FIELD, 10 years old, Keystone, Wyo.
THOMAS BRENNAN, Leadville, Colo.
T. H. WEBB, Yamps, Colorado; slight.
BERT MEYERS, Pottsville, Mo.; slight.
W. L. HEWITT, Lebo, Kansas; slight.
CLAUDE ROBINSON, Denver; serious.
H. GOLDBERG, Denver; slight.
W. R. PAGE, Yampa, Colo.; serious.
RALPH BRITTON, Brighton, Iowa; serious.
MABEL FIELDS, Wolcott, Colo.; serious.
ARTHUR E. HEWITT, Lebo, Kan.; serious.
N. W. PHILLIPS, Coyville, Ill.; slight.
C. C. HOUSE, Chama, N. M.; slight.
J. PIERCANO, Florence, Colo.; slight.
JACK SCOTT, Montrose, Colo.; slight.
ED BRANNEN, Leadville, Colo.; slight.
JOHN SCOTT, Denver; arms and legs cut.
A. GARBER, New York; ear injured.
RALPH BONITON, Brighton, In.; slight.
L. C. RANSCOTTOM, San Francisco, California; neck injury.
DAVID McCULLAM, porter, Chicago; inhaled gas.
SARAH BALLIGAN, Cleveland, O.; cut on head.
MYRON PHILLIPS, Salt Lake City; ankle hurt.
W. F. PAUL, Portland, Ore.; foot injury.
GEORGE BRADSHAW, Chicago; left foot smashed.
S. W. FIELDS, Laramie, Wyo.; left leg broken.
PHILLIP PETERS, address unknown; ribs broken and cut about head.
JAMES TROCIONE, Florence; right leg lacerated.
R. I. JONES, mail weigher, Denver; chest and head injuries.
A. E. SMITH, fireman, Pueblo, slight.
W. A. WATKINS, Denver; cut on head.