Indianapolis, IN Crushed by a Streetcar, Aug 1903

The Indianapolis Journal newspaper, Indianapolis, IN
Monday 3 August 1903; Page 10, Column 4



She Was Ground to Pieces by a Street Car in Plain View of Her Frantic Husband


With Husband and Friends She Was Going to Church

Stepped From One Street Car in Front of Another - Stories Told by Bystanders

Mrs. John Riley, 2315 Arsenal Avenue, was crushed to death under the wheels of a street car yesterday morning at the corner of St. Clair Street and Massachusetts Avenue. Her body was dragged a length of fifteen feet and was horribly mutilated before the motorman could stop his car.

Early yesterday morning Mrs. Riley, in company with her husband and two women friends, boarded a streetcar near their home and started for church. They alighted from their car at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and St. Clair Street and started to go behind the car and across the street to the sidewalk, but on account of the presence of the car from which they had just stepped were unable to see the approaching Columbia-avenue car until it was upon them. All succeeded in saving themselves, however, with the exception of Mrs. Riley, who was struck by the car and in plain view of her frantic husband was ground beneath the wheels.


The motorman made every effort to stop his car but was unable to do so until too late to save the woman's life. Her body was wedged under the car in such a manner that it was almost impossible to extricate it and it was necessary to back the car several feet before the woman's lifeless form could be loosened from the wheels.

The City Dispensary ambulance, attended by Drs. Crockett and Mackey, was soon on the scene, but the woman had met an instant death and their services were not needed other than to carry her body to the City Morgue, where it was retained until called for by Adams & Krieger, who have charge of the funeral.

Dr. Geis, who held a post-mortem on the body, said that death must have come to her without pain, as the blow she received on the hear must have rendered her unconscious before she was otherwise injured. Practically every bone in her body was broken and her face and hands were terribly mutilated.

Bicyclemen Simon and Morgan, who were on the scene after the accident occurred, said last night that they did not think the car which struck Mrs. Riley was going an unusual rate of speed, as it stopped within fifteen feet of where the accident happened.


The car was in charge of Conductor J. E. Phelps, 1703 Columbia Avenue, and Motorman Kinnick, 1625 Shelby Street, and both men claim that they are in no way to blame for the affair. The motorman stated to the police that he sounded his gong repeatedly when approaching the crossing, and his statements are corroborated by his conductor and several passengers. On the other hand a number of persons who witnessed the accident assert that the motorman was negligent in making the crossing while the other car was standing there inasmuch as he failed to sound his bell or give any warning and was looking in the other direction when the unfortunate woman stepped on the track within a few feet of his car.

Mrs. Riley leaves a husband and several children and the funeral will be held from St. Joseph's Church at 9 o'clock to-morrow morning. The interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.
Seymour Daily Republican newspaper, Seymour, IN
Monday 3 August 1903; Page 3, Column 5


Mrs. John Riley, Formerly of Seymour, Killed at Indianapolis

Sunday morning Mrs. John Riley of Indianapolis, formerly a resident of this city, was crushed to death under the wheels of a street car.

Early Sunday morning she in company with her husband and two lady friends boarded a street car near their home on their way to church. Coming to the place where they wanted to get off they alighted from the car, started around the car and across the street to the sidewalk. Another car was approaching from the other direction but they did not see it on account of the presence of the car from which they had just alighted. All succeeded in getting off the track but Mrs. Riley. She was knocked down and crushed beneath the car. Her body was badly mutilated.

Mrs. Riley had many friends in Seymour, this being her home until about seven years ago. She was a sister of Mrs. John D. Clark, who formerly lived here. John Riley is a brother of Thomas Riley, of Seymour. The funeral will be held Tuesday morning. Miss Lizzie McGovern and others will go to Indianapolis to attend the funeral.

Lillian "Lily" McGuire Riley
Find A Grave Memorial# 127453420