Adrian, MI Buggy Wreck, Jun 1900
With Terrible Force
Lake Shore Train No. 21 Crashed Into a Frail Top Buggy,
Hurling Rig And Contents High In The Air,
And Landing Them Beside the Flagman’s House 40 Feet Away.
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew J. Hyatt Endure A Terrible Experience.
But Miraculously Escape the Embrace of Death
The South Main street crossing of the Lake Shore railroad was the scene of a bad accident Sunday morning, when No. 21, having left the station about 9:30 going west, crashed into a single top buggy, containing Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Hyatt, and made a complete wreck of everything.
Mr. and Mrs. Hyatt had left home to drive out into Fairfield to visit friends. According to best accounts as they approached the Lake Shore crossing, having just crossed that of the Detroit & Lima Northern, they were fully warned of the approaching danger.
But Mr. Hyatt, being somewhat deaf, became confused. He first stopped, the whipped his horse in a vain endeavor to cross before the fast mail reached him. The horse had crossed in safety, but it was too late. With a crash that turned the few witnesses faint and sick, the merciless engine struck the rear end of the rig, and tossed it high into the air.
The Engineer’s Warning.
The engineer, as soon as he saw the vehicle approaching gave the three short, sharp blasts, which always carry the dread warning of danger, and the air brakes were applied so that the engine came to a standstill just as it reached the stone bridge. There seems to be no doubt but that the proper crossing signal was blown previous to the danger signal. The train backed up to the scene of the accident, and the train men and many passengers alighted, to render assistance if possible. The train was held there for nearly half an hour.
No Flagman There.
There have been various rumors in circulation as to what the flagman did or didn’t do. The fact of the case is, there was no flagman stationed at the crossing Sunday morning.
The state railroad commissioner and the railroad company can possibly explain why the crossing was without its usual guardian. On Sunday mornings the flagman is kept at neither the South Main nor Division street crossings.
The regular flagman, during weekdays, is August Zoth, who has faithfully filled the position there for 23 years, but he is not required to stay there Sundays. The maintenance of a flagman at this crossing dates back 40 years, when a man and team were killed there, and the company established a flag station.
How it Happened.
There were a number of witnesses of the affair, who were questioned by The Telegram. Their stories are substantially identical.
The principal warning was that given to Mr. Hyatt was that of Orlando Austin, who was on his way to church and had just walked across the track. He first shouted to Mr. Hyatt that the train was coming. The he waved to him to stop and continued shouting. The warning was apparently heeded for a moment, and then disregarded. Mr. Hyatt subsequently stated that he was confused as to whether the Lake Shore or Lima Northern was referred to; that his horse was frightened and his quick conclusion was that if he hesitated they would be killed anyway, so he tried to cross.
The instant of the terrible impact was an awful one. Some of those who were gazing, fascinated by the inevitable horror, turned away and covered their eyes.
David Palmer’s Story.
David Palmer, of 13 West Beecher Street, was walking eastward from the stone bridge. He hard the train coming and in an instant saw the buggy tossed into the air.
Mr. Palmer hastened to the spot as quickly as possible. Both Mr. and Mrs. Hyatt were lying where they fell. The former was unconscious for a short time only. He fell on the sidewalk near the southwest corner of the flagman’s house. When he first regained consciousness he plaintively said, “I didn’t see it, and I didn’t hear it.” Both Mr. and Mrs. Hyatt were thrown at least 40 feet.