North Liberty, IA Auto And Interurban Collision, Sept 1920





A cruel tragedy, one of the saddest of many months, in Johnson county, was enacted on the afternoon of Labor Day when two people were killed, three were injured and two escaped miraculously unscathed, following a collision between an Iowa City - Cedar Rapids Interurban Railway company car, bound for Cedar Rapids.
The accident occurred about two miles north of North Liberty, not far from the stockyards. The auto bore seven persons from Cedar Rapids and Fairfax, on pleasure-bent, enroute to a family picnic, at Iowa City park.
The killed:
MRS. W. J. DELANEY, Cedar Rapids.
MRS. J. C. McCABE, Fairfax, wife of Dr. McCabe, a veterinary surgeon.
The injured:
W. J. DELANEY, Cedar Rapids, husband of the first named victim, a wholesale grocery representative, head cut.
MRS. F. H. CAHILL, Fairfax, sister of MRS. DELANEY, four ribs fractured.
VINCENT THOMAN, Fairfax, driver of the auto; scalp wounds and bruises.
MILDRED DELANEY, the 9 year old daughter of MRS. DELANEY, and LUCILE THOMAN, the 8 year old sister of VINCENT, were unharmed.
MRS. McCABE was instantly killed, her skull being fractured, probably; and MRS. DELANEY, unconscious when picked up, died on the way to an Iowa City hospital. Her skull may be fractured also.
Coroner J. H. Donohue will hold an inquest today, probably.
The automobile was struck in the rear portion, as THOMAN, perceiving the car too late to stop his machine, put on extra speed in a desperate effort to cross the tracks.
The machine was hurled about 15 feet, and every member of the party of seven was flung from the smashed machine, alighting several feet away from the auto, which fell in the roadway, while they were hurled almost to the edge of a continuous ditch.
MR. DELANEY, as soon as he rallied from the stunning shock, hastened to the side of his wife, who lay hear him, and he stated to a representative of the Daily Press that she was breathing, though unconscious when he reached her. She could not speak.
Dr. Bevens chanced to be on the interurban car, and he gave first aid, but pronounced MRS. McCABE lifeless. Evidently, the big car had either struck her, driven her against some metal part of the auto head-first or had hurled her with fatal force against the road.
The doctor found MRS. DELANEY breathing and held out hope to the terrified kinsfolk, but could not promise anything as her injuries were of a fearful type, as the prima facie evidence indicated.
As it developed, they were beyond human agency, for, after she had been placed in an automobile, by its owner, R. M. Work, of Tiffin, who chanced to be near, and Joseph Lininger, of North Liberty, and had been taken cityward, she breathed her last on a rural highway. Both women were taken to Coroner J. H. Donohue's mortuary, when it became evident that life was extinct, long before the city was reached.
The injuries of MRS. CAHILL were believed to be more serious than developments attested. It was feared that she was internally injured, and that her back was injured, but these fears were early allayed at the Mercy hospital, whither she was borne.
The wounds of VINCENT THOMAN were supposed at first, also, to include a fractured cheekbone and arm, but he, too, was hurt more than was announced shortly after the accident. X-rays, at the hospital, dissipated many fears, in each instance, although there has been some doubt, as to whether VINCENT'S molar bone was broken or no.
In the trip from Fairfax, where the Parlor City people had been visiting with relatives, some of whom accompanied them on the trip to Iowa City, were twelve, occupying two machines.
In the automobile that was wrecked by the collision, seven people were riding, as above indicated.
It was a 7-passenger Moline Knight, and the first seat was occupied by MR. THOMAN, the young driver, aged about 21, who is the son of the auto's owner, F. J. Thoman, a Fairfax farmer, and MR. DELANEY.
MRS. DELANEY, aged about 36; MRS. McCABE, 30 years of age; and MRS. CAHILL, about 40, occupied the rear seat; and in the middle or "jump" seats, were two little girls -- MILDRED, daughter of the DELANEYS, and LUCILE, THOMAN'S sister.
About a half mile back came Franklin Hines, a foster son of the Delaneys, in a car with Lloyd Lefebure, of Fairfax; and Helen Cahill, daughter of MRS. F. H. CAHILL, of Fairfax; Geraldine Hines, and adopted daughter of the Delaneys; and Rosetta Thoman, another sister of the driver of the doomed car ahead.
They came up quickly after the accident, and were horrified spectators of the tragic developments, although they did not witness the collision.
The motorman of the 2:55 Interurban car, which reached the crossing about 3:30, was CLARENCE GRISSELL, of Cedar Rapids, while Conductor BURRELL was his chief on the fatal trip.
No placing of blame on anybody, either in the auto or the interurban car has been announced by Coroner Donohue, who refuses to make any statement, until the inquest is held.

Iowa City Press-Citizen Iowa 1920-09-07