Howells, NY train - auto wreck, Jul 1909


As Train Crashes Into Car Joseph Dickinson Jumps with Wife and Daughter.

Special to The New York Times.

MIDDLETOWN, N. Y., July 31. - Joseph Dickinson, said to be a well-known steelman of Newark, N. J., undoubtedly saved the lives of his wife and daughter tonight, as well as his own, when an automobile in which the three were riding was struck by an express train at the Erie Railroad crossing in the village of Howells, for miles from this city. Although the automobile was completely wrecked, the only injuries sustained by the occupants consisted of cuts and bruises which they received in jumping from the automobile as the locomotive struck it.

Mr. and Mrs. Dickinson and their daughter, Mrs. George Gardiner, also of Newark, are guests at the home of Mrs. H. H. Reeve at New Vernon, Orange County, and have spent the last week in making automobile trips about the county. This afternoon they started out as ususal, and visited Middletown, and it was while they were returning to New Vernon that the accident took place.

There is a sharp incline leading up to the railroad crossing at Howells, and on reaching this Mr. Dickinson stopped the autoombile [sic] and listened for an approaching train. Not hearing anything he started the automobile, and the car was on the track when the occupants saw an express train bearing down upon them not 50 feet away. There was not power enough on the automobile to cary [sic] it off the track, and Mr. Dickinson, jumping upon the seat, shouted to his wife and daughter to jump, grasping them and pulling them to their feet at the same time. The locomotive struck the automobile at this instant, and the three occupants, who were already in the air, were thrown into a ditch. The wreck of the automobile was carried on the pilot of the engine for 300 yards before the train was brought to a stop.

The train was No. 29, leaving New York at 3:15, and was loaded with passengers. The train crew and a number of passengers ran back to the crossing expecting to find the occupants of the auto dead. Mr. Dickinson was able to get on his feet, but the ladies were severely shocked and bruised. They were carried to a near-by hotel, and in two hours they were able to go on to New Vernon.

The New York Times, New York, NY, 1 Aug 1909