Queens, NY train wreck Feb 1918
27 HURT IN CRASH OF B. R. T. TRAINS
Rear-End Collision Due to a Heavy Fog and Defective Motor.
TWO CARS DEMOLISHED
Effort to Fix Blame for Accident Will Be Made Today Before Magistrate.
Twenty-seven men and women were hurt in the wreck of two cars of B. R. T. elevated trains of the Liberty Avenue line at the Oxford Avenue Station, Queens, yesterday afternooon, caused by a rear-end collision in the fog, which prevented the motorman of the rear train seeing the one ahead. Some of the injured were among the persons on the platform. They were hit by parts of the demolished cars. Four trains bound from Park Row, Manhattan, to Morris Park, the terminal, were at the station, and many of the cars and a large part of the platform were crowded.
The injured were taken into the waiting room until the arrival of ambulances from St. Mary's, Bradford Street and the Jamaica Hospitals, and after all had received medical attention three persons were taken to hospitals. They were Motorman Abraham Perry, of Sheridan Avenue, Brooklyn; Rose Bloom, 50 West Seventy-Sixth Street, Manhattan, and William Brown, a negro, address unknown. All will recover. Fearing that the wreckage would become ignited, the police called the Richmond Hill Fire Department.
The first of the four trains reaching the station, which is in the Ozone Park district of Queens, had a defective motor. While the motorman was attempting to make repairs two trains followed and stopped a few feet apart. According to the police, no signals were set and no effort was made to send guards back to warn other trains of the blocked tracks. Suddenly out of the fog came the fourth train. One entire side of the rear car was cut away and pushed over like a falling wall upon some of the persons standing on the platform.
Only a few passengers had been in the rear car, and the last two of these were alighting when the collision occurred. They were thrown to the platform. Vincent Orlando of 1,970 Fulton Street, guard of this car, was bruised by the cars smashing together. Most of those hurt were in the forward car of the fourth train, but all of the passengers were shaken up and many more bruised by the impact that sent all the trains crashing together.
Every part of the superstructure of the rear car was swept from the trucks and piled in heaps of broken material on the rails and platform and iron work alongside the tracks. The vestibule of the colliding trains was crushed, pinning the motormand amid the wreckage in his box, and the forward sides of the car for ten feet were smashed inward. Passengers in this car escaped death because the shock of the collision threw them backward over seats or in the aisle and out of immediate danger. Their hurts were due mostly to flying glass and broken timbers.
Perry, the motorman, before he was taken to the hospital, declared he had no warning of the train ahead, and had been unable to see in the fog. He said he had reduced speed for a stop at the station. The police said that B. R. T. men had told them that lights were not put out at that hour - the acciden [sic] occurred at 4:30 o'clock - daylight was considered sufficient for running the trains. Also it was said the rules did not require guards to be sent back to stop approaching trains.
Detective Charles Krummel of the Eighth Branch Bureau was ordered by his commander to make an investigation of the accident, and to place the facts before City Magistrate Doyle this morning in the Jamaica Court. It took five hours to remove the wreck and resume normal traffic.
The New York Times, New York, NY 4 Feb 1918