Memphis, TN Auto And Train Crash, Aug 1934
CROSSING CRASH NEAR MEMPHIS IS FATAL TO SEVEN.
TWO OTHER MEMBERS OF SWIMMING PARTY HURT WHEN AUTO, TRAIN COLLIDE.
HANDICAPPED DRIVER OF AUTO IS KILLED.
TECHNICAL CHARGE OF MANSLAUGHTER IS FILED AGAINST ENGINEER OF LOUISVILLE & NASHVILLE TRAIN; PASSENGERS ARE THROWN INTO CONFUSION.
Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 9. (AP) - Seven members of a swimming party were killed today, when their automobile was struck by a passenger train at a grade crossing on the outskirts of Memphis.
Two other members of the party were critically injured. They were able to recall little of the crash.
A technical charge of manslaughter was filed against the engineer of Louisville and Nashville local train Number 103, coming into Memphis about 3 p.m. from Paris, Tenn.
Train passengers were uninjured but were thrown into confusion.
The dead, all occupants of the automobile and all residents of Memphis were AUSTIN DODSON, 23, one-armed driver of the automobile; STEVE THOMPSON, 35; BEATRICE WATERBURY, 19; C.W. SHEETS, JR., 8; MARGARITE HALSTEAD, 3; JOHN BAILEY, 9; and VAN BAILEY, JR., 8.
The injured: MRS. VIOLA HALSTEAD, 19, mother of MARGARITE; and BARNEY WATERBURY, 7, a brother of BEATRICE.
The engineer, JOHN DONOVAN, 68, said the train was traveling about 60 miles an hour and that he did not see the car.
"I was running right at 60 miles an hour and just as I laid my hand upon the throttle to reduce my speed in accordance with the city law, I saw my fireman, D. C. Bryant, jump from his cab in the deck and holler, 'look out, stop!'" Donovan declared.
"I slammed the throttle closed and began applying my brakes. I did not know we had struck anything until I stopped my train 300 yards from the crossing. It was impossible for me to stop any sooner without probably injuring some of my passengers."
Hits Fireman's Side.
The engineer said the automobile collided with the train on the fireman's side.
Bryant said "the first time I saw the car was about 150 yards from the crossing, traveling at about 30 miles an hour.
"The car did not check its speed and the driver gave no sign that he saw us coming. The car struck the engine at the left bumper beam on the engine."
Traffic Sergt. Eddie Lyons who investigated said the engineer was released on his own recognizance after being docketed on technical charges of manslaughter and exceeding the speed limit.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph West Virginia 1934-08-10