New York, NY Truck Accident, Sept 1921

Birth, Marriage & Death Records

James Duffy, 33 years old, of Patchogue, L. I., was driving a truck owned by the South Shore Motor Transportation Company of that town to the Willis Avenue yards of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad with a heavy load of ducks, chickens, fish and clams. His helper, Valentine Raymond, who at the last moment had replaced a man selected for the journey, sat beside him.

As the truck tuned into the Bowery from the Manhattan Bridge incline it swerved into an ice wagon standing there spilling the ice into the street. Then the big truck skidded and crashed into an L pillar near Hester Street, catapulting the load forward on top of the two men. The gasoline tank exploded with a roar, flames enveloped the truck, and in an instant were shooting so close to the Third Avenue elevated structure overheard that for thirty minutes, until firemen had extinguished the blaze, the power had to be shut off and service discontinued.

John J. Gahan of 15 Sands Street, Brooklyn, and employe[sic] of the Department of Plant and Structures, rushed up to find that Duffy had been flung partly clear of the load, probably by the force of the explosion. Charles Meltcher of 2,112 Mermaid Avenue, Coney Island, assisted Gahan and the two men, joined by Patrolman Michael J. Kelly of the Clinton Street Station, dragged Duffy out of the flames. They could not reach Raymond and when firemen had partially subdued the flames and were able to drag him from the engine he was dead. Father John Voghera of the Church of the Transfiguration, at 27 Mott Street, administered the last rites to Duffy as he lay on the sidewalk awaiting an ambulance which took him to Gouverneur Hospital, where he soon died.

William Schneider, a towerman near Canal Street, discovered the flames, stopped the power and called and emergency crew, which aided the firemen in clearing the wreckage. Traffic was resumed after the wreckers had determined that the smash had not weakened the "L" pillar. The ice wagon horses ran away as the truck crashed into it, but were stopped a short distance down the street.

The New York Times, New York, NY 1 Sept 1921