Bessemer, AL Auto Van And Train Crash, Aug 1910

MEET DEATH IN CRASH.

YOUNG PEOPLE WERE EN ROUTE TO WEST LAKE.

TWELVE KILLED OR INJURED.

BIG AUTOMOBILE VAN SMASHED TO SPLINTERS - FOUR SAVED THEMSELVES BY JUMPING.

Birmingham, Ala. - An automobile van filled with a merry party of young people from Bessemer was struck Sunday afternoon by a Southern Railway passenger train on the Blue Creek Pike, one and one-half miles below Bessemer, resulting in the death of two instantly, the fatal injury of three and the more or less serious injury of eight.
The dead are:
J. H. RODEN, of Bessemer, driver of the automobile.
MISS AUGUSTA KEISER, aged 16, of Bessemer.
The fatally injured are:
MISS MARGARET FITZPATRICK, aged 16, of Bessemer, skull fractured.
ROBERT BLACK, of Cumberland, Tenn., skull fractured.
MISS MAMIE CRENSHAW, aged 16, of Bessemer, skull fractured.
The injured include:
EVALINE CRENSHAW, aged 14, left leg and left arm broken.
VERNON LEE, aged 17, conductor on automobile, leg and arm broken.
G. C. DOBBS, left hand broken.
Two BARRON children, bruised.
W. H. DENNIS, JR., bruised.
J. O. GARNER, bruised in jumping.
H. H. McELROY, bruised in jumping.
The accident occurred at 4:15 Sunday afternoon, when the Southern train en route to Selma in charge of Engineer J. M. T. Riser and Conductor Cobb neared the crossing one mile east of West Lake. The party in the automobile van were en route to the lake at the time of the accident. The driver, RODEN, owned the car, and operated it for the convenience of those wishing to visit the lake. The scene of the accident is where the Blue Creek Pike crosses the Southern Railway tracks. The road leading to the crossing is down grade, and the train was in plain view for several hundred yards.
As the car neared the crossing MR. McELROY who was not injured because he jumped, and W. O. GARNER appealed to the driver, RODEN, to stop his car, as he would not be able to cross ahead of the fast approaching train. RODEN believed otherwise, evidently, for he is said to have given no heed to the entreaties to stop, but continued his speeding. McELROY and GARNER, realizing that death was inevitable, jumped to save their lives. BLACK, who was fatally injured, was on the same seat occupied by the two men who saved their lives by jumping.
When the two men jumped the two BARRON children and the youth named VERNON LEE also realized the danger and they also jumped. The train struck the automobile exactly in the center. MISS CRENSHAW at the hospital said the injured thought it more a dream than otherwise. MISS KEISER, a promising young lady, aged 16, was killed almost instantly. RODEN, the man who drove the car to its destruction, did not realize what had occurred. He died before he landed, 30 feet from the scene of the accident.
The train stopped within a few rail lengths of the crossing and the passengers rushed back to the dead and injured to give any assistance possible. The train carried one physician, and he endeavored to give medical attention. However, the victims were soon rushed to the Bessemer Hospital.
The conductor and engineer of the Southern train rendered every possible attention, and for a few moments the baggage car of the train was an improvised hospital. The point where the accident occurred is bordered by a small stream and the blood from the dead and wounded saturated the stream until it was red with human blood. The scene at the accident almost beggars description, as the place was strewn with the unfortunate thirteen dying men and young girls in the full blush of young womanhood.
The spectators, some of the women, were overcome with the terrible scene, and many returned to the passenger cars when it was seen that no aid could be rendered.

Alabama Beacon Greensboro Alabama 1910-08-12