Walton, IN Train Wreck, Jan 1947
4 DEAD 36 HURT IN WALTON TRAIN WRECK.
36 PERSONS HOSPITALIZED WITH INJURIES TO 19 LISTED AS SERIOUS; RAIL OFFICIALS AND POLICE SAY ROLL OF WIRE ON TRACKS CAUSED CRASH; FBI STARTS INVESTIGATION.
Walton, Ind., Jan. 28. -- Four persons, two of them from Kokomo, were killed, and almost a score injured when the Pennsylvania railroad's
"Union" passenger train, bound north from Cincinnati to Chicago, struck a bale of fencing wire and piled up here Monday night about 6 o'clock.
The dead were:
KATHRYN MARIE KINGERY, 25, of 210 1/2 West Taylor Street, Kokomo.
WALTER A. PISCHKE, 45, of 611 West Defenbaugh Street, Kokomo.
C. A. WISLER, 39, Richmond, Ind., the train's fireman.
H. G. PERKINSON, 2029 Madison Avenue, Anderson, Ind.
Conflicting reports were that from 16 to 20 persons were injured and as many as 36 hospitalized, some for only minor scratches and bruises. The engineer, N. J. LAMARTIME, 61, of Richmond, was one of the most seriously injured. He suffered a cut over the eye and a sprained back, with possible internal injuries. Caught in the wreckage of the engine cab, he heroically directed the work of rescuers in cutting pipes to free him. He was taken to the St. Joseph hospital in Logansport, but it was believed his condition was not critical.
Four cars of the eight-car train were thrown crossways of the rails, two others were derailed, and the engine was turned conpletely around and hurled over on its side. It was the worst railroad accident in the Kokomo area in 40 years or more.
Railroad men estimated that the train was traveling about 80 miles an hour. Engineer LAMARTINE said he didn't know what caused the wreck but that he felt a sudden bump as the train reached the southeast outskirts of Walton.
This, it is believed, was the roll of wire fence which had fallen on the rails from a storage pile alongside the track, or had been placed there.
LAMARTINE said he threw on the air brakes immediately and the engine turned over soon afterward.
It appeared that the bale of wire had been caught by the engine and carried down the track to a switch. The roll of wire, about two feet wide and containing some pipe, weighted about 400 pounds. The train pushed it a short distance down the track and then the wire jammed into the switch.
There was one story that thieves might have been in the act of stealing the bale of wire and that it fell off their truck as the train approached.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indiana state police opened an investigation of this report today.
State Police Lieut. John R. Fisher and A. F. McIntyre, Pennsylvania superintendent, said the roll of wire was found jammed into the switch. Fisher said, "This couldn't have been an accident. It was either sabotage or larceny. Someone either placed the wire on the track or it caught there while they were trying to steal it."
With the brakes slammed on, the fast-moving train screeched through the full length of town and when it reached the northwest edge of town the engine leaped the track. The big locomotive was torn loose from the train, reversed its direction and toppled over on its side before coming to a stop.
The other cars careened wildly, one of them crashing into the Farmers Grain elevator alongside the track. The baggage car and three passenger coaches piled up in the wake of the locomotive. Great sections of the track were ripped up, and the cab was torn off and smashed.
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