White Oak, OK Railroad Collision, May 1920
HEROES OF THE RAIL DIE IN A FUTILE EFFORT TO STAY GRIM REAPER.
RUSHING OVER THE RAILS AT TERRIFIC SPEED FRISCO PASSENGER TRAINS CRASH HEAD-ON INTO EMBRACE OF DEATH DURING EARLY MORNING HOURS; ENGINEERS CLING TO THROTTLES AND DIE AT DUTY'S POST.
Tulsa, Okla., May 31. - At least five were killed and more than a score injured, several fatally, when two passenger trains on the Frisco Railroad met in a head-on collision at 12:45 this morning two and one-half miles east of White Oak, a village west of Vinita, Okla.
Fireman SHELTON, of the east bound passenger, jumped and sustained a broken leg. The fireman on the other train is believed to be fatally injured.
The crash came on a short curve one and one-half miles east of White Oak, a village near Vinita. Both trains were running at almost 40 miles an hour, the conductors said. The west bound train was several hours late it is said and was making up time.
No official statement fixing the cause of the wreck has been issued by the railroad. The operator at Chelsea told reporters that, although orders had been issued for the trains to pass in Vinita, the west bound train had been sent out of there by mistake.
The east bound train left Tulsa at 10:25 o'clock. It was practically a solid train of steel cars. Those cars withstood the shock of the collision and not one left the track.
The two engines welded together with the impact. The mail car, the baggage car and the combination smoking car of the west bound train were splintered. It was in one of these that the news agent on the train, and Oklahoma City man, was instantly killed.
Hurried rescue parties were formed under direction of passengers. One of these crews succeeded in extricating a man who was being carried on a stretcher in the baggage car of the west bound train. He was taken from beneath several tons of baggage and strawberries. His left leg was crushed and he is expected to die.
All the physicians in Chelsea and Vinita, were rushed to the scene of the wreck within an hour.
A special train was made up and the dead and injured sent to hospitals in Vinita.
A number of nurses from Sapulpa, Okla., were on the train and rendered first aid.
Following is corrected list of the dead and injured:
JAMES J. RANDALL, Monett, Mo., engineer west-bound train, found under heap of coal five hours after the wreck.
ABE DUNHAM, Fort Scott, Kansas, engineer on east-bound train. Crushed between cab and mail car.
A. TOUCHFARBER, Kansas City, Mo., mail clerk east-bound train.
News agent west-bound train, name unknown, home Oklahoma City.
Negro named FOWLER, Sapulpa, passenger west-bound train.
J. W. BANKER, 1409 W. Seventh St., Kansas City, Mo.
ALGIR E. BURNS, Kansas City, Mo.
Unidentified negro porter.
Unidentified negro passenger.
ERNEST SPARKS, Kansas City, Mo., mail clerk.
R. M. WALSH, 1106 E. McCloud St., Sapulpa, Okla., fireman west-bound train.
DAVE BAROLIN, Monett, Mo., express messenger, west-bound train.
JIMMIE SHELTON, Sapulpa, fireman east-bound train.
There were fifteen slightly hurt.
WILLIAM N. RANDOLPH, political reporter for the Tulsa Tribune, was a passenger on the west-bound train. He escaped injury and worked all night at the head of one of the rescue crews.
Both engineers died at their posts of duty. The fireman on each train declared from their beds in the hospital at Vinita, this morning that they were ordered to jump for their lives while the engineers remained at the throttles.
The Daily Ardmoreite Ardmore Oklahoma 1920-05-31