Long Island, NY Auto Wreck, Jul 1908


Lawyer Dunton and His Wife Land Gently After Steep Plunge in Auto

FREDERICK W. DUNTON, a lawyer, who lives at Hollis, L. I. thinks that a prayer, breathed by him for his wife as they plunged in their automobile down a 20-foot embankment to what appeared to be certain death yesterday, saved both his wife's life and his own.

Dunton, who is a nephew of the late Austin Corbin, had started from Medford. L. I. with his wife in their touring car yesterday afternoon for a ride through the country. Seeing a level stretch ahead, Mr. Dunton increased his speed. The roadway had been filled in recently with sand, and the vehicle began to slow up. Mr. Dunton opened up full power, and the automobile plunged ahead.

At that instant Mr. Dunton lost control of the car. On the right of the roadway a bank sloped down twenty feet to level ground. On the left there was a precipitous descent of fifty feet. The car was racing along this perilous roadway when the rear wheels skidded to the right, and Mr. Dunton expected to see it plunge over the fifty-foot precipice.

It was then that he breathed a prayer that his wife might be spared. No sooner had the prayer been breathed, he said, the two wheels skidded again, this time to the left, and he car ran straight for the twenty-foot slope. Down the bank it went without overturning, and when it struck the level ploughed straight ahead.

At the bottom he car struck a hickory sapling, which bent under the axle, and the car rode above it, the wheels straddling the tree until the branches stopped its progress, and Mr. and Mrs. Dunton climbed out uninjured.

The tree had to be cut from under the car, which was soon in condition to proceed on its way.

"Such deliverance could not happen once in a million accidents of the kind," said Mr. Dunton after he and his wife had recovered from the shock. "There was apparently nothing to prevent a fatal accident. There must be a special Providence for law-abiding motorists."

The New York Times, New York, NY 26 Jul 1908