Kalamazoo, MI Interurban Cars Crash, May 1915

Kalamazoo, MI Interurban Cars Crash, May 1915




First South Bound Car Swings Through Siding, Smashing Full Force at 50 Miles An Hour into Local, Later Leaving Track

Kalamazoo Flyer No. 806, of the new Michigan Railway Interurban line, coming "light" from Grand Rapids, ran into an open switch at the northeast city limits loop Thursday morning, crashing into a crowded northbound local car which a few moments before had pulled into the siding to allow the special clear track. Three passengers in the local car were painfully although not seriously injured.  The flyer carried no passengers.  The accident occurred about 7:25 a.m.

Those injured in the smashup which rammed both cars badly and sent the flyer into an embankment were:  Paul Nutton, Plainwell; John Rupert, 1420 Hayes Park court; and S. W. Fleckenstein, Allegan.  Nutton and Fleckenstein were rushed to Borgess hospital in the police ambulance while Rupert was removed to his home.  The three passengers were injured about their heads and bodies but no bones were broken.

Neglected Closing Switch

In running the local car onto the loop which is used as a siding, Conductor John Armstrong neglected to close the switch.  The flyer running on special orders swung into sight before motorman F. Petree of the local had an opportunity to reverse his car and back around the loop.  The fast car running light approached the point at a rate of 50 miles an hour, it is said.  The flyer was in [the] charge of Motorman G. Fisher.

As the fast southbound flyer struck the frogs of the switch, without warning she swung through the siding smashing full force into the standing local.  Passengers were thrown from their seats to the aisles and a general panic followed.  The compact as the two steel interurbans came together was terrific.

None of Crew Injured.

Had the cars been of the wooden type construction many would have been killed and the interurbans rendered into splinters. The local car was driven backward around the loop but stayed upright and on the rails.  The flyer crowded the lighter car from its path and plunged forward jumping the track finally to crash into an embankment and topple over.  The crew went through the miraculous experience without injury although Motorman Fisher was badly shaken up.