Kalamazoo, MI Freight Train Strikes Street Sweeper, May 1907
In the meantime Engineman Miller was endeavoring to leap and climb upward to the right-side cab window, which, because of the engine's position opened skyward, and he had to make several attempts, his wet gloves making his holds insecure and the steam and smoke blinding him. the opening of the window had been reduced by the crushing of the frame to about sixteen inches, and as he leaped and scrambled he could feel Teeters and Wenger beneath his feet. At last he succeeded in grasping the window frame and pulling himself out, and Teeters, with like experiences, followed.
Wenger was adding fuel to the fire at the time of the accident, and the door was opened, thus permitting the fire to fall out.
The train consisted of fifty-three cars, most of them empties, and with the loaded cars at the rear. The train was going downgrade, and its speed and momentus was such that the wrecked cars were piled at least forty feet high, declared one spectator. The Lake Shore and the Michigan Central wrecking crews are working on the debris.
Both the sweeper horses were killed.
Mr. Null telephoned his family that he had not been injured, which was contrary to a report that had spread here.
Mrs. Miller left for Kalamazoo via the interurban to South Bend and thence over the Michigan Central soon after receiving word of the accident.
Mr. Wenger, whose home was on the Goshen & Michigan branch between Sturgis and Shipshewana, had been in the company's employ four years and was recently promoted to engineman, but had been set back due to the usual spring adjustment. Two week ago he resumed work after a six-week siege of typhoid fever. He was married only about eight months ago, and is survived by the wife and his parents. Mrs. Wenger left her home over the W. H. Theis hardware store after learning of the accident, and what arrangement have been made for the disposition of the remains are not known here. Mr. Wenger was about twenty-eight years of age.
The wrecked train left here at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
A Kalamazoo dispatch to the Review says:
"By the wreck of a Lake Shore freight at 1:30 one man was killed and one injured, probably, fatally. The dead is Abner Wenger, fireman and the probably fatally injured is John N. Brownell, who was in the [illegible] of the city street sweeper. The wreck had peculiar features. The street sweeper was going up Portage sheet when t was struck by the freight running double-headed. When the second engine hit the switch it was derailed, piling up nineteen cars in a picturesque heap. Fireman Wenger was instantly killed. The impact was so great that residents in the vicinity thought an earthquake had occurred. The tracks will be blocked all day, deranging the city street car service and the interurban traffic, as the principle lines run up Portage street. The dead and injured were rushed to hospitals."
Elkhart Daily Review, Elkhart, IN 6 May 1907