Burleigh, NJ Train Hits Auto at Crossing Killing Five, Aug 1923


CAPE MAY, N. J., Aug. 4 — When the driver of a Ford sedan "took a chance" at the crossing of the Pennsylvania Railroad at Burleigh, nine miles north of here, this afternoon the Delaware express, being drawn by a transcontinental type locomotive at fifty miles an hour, struck the car and killed the driver and four other occupants.

Two of the victims, Edward Probst of 132 Knight Avenue, Gloucester, N. J., and his son, Frederick, 8-years old, were scooped up by the cowcatcher of the locomotive and their bodies carried to the Reading Railroad crossing, a mile north of the scene of the accident before the train was stopped. The other three occupants of the car, Albert Romer of 424 River Drive, Westville, N. J.; John Pierce of 208 Main Street, Gloucester, and an unidentified man, believed to be a brother of the latter, were hurled fifty feet to either side of the tracks. Romer and Pierce were dead, and the fifth victim of the accident died a few minutes after his arrival at Dr. Mace's Hospital at Wildwood, five miles away.

The accident was witnessed by the occupants of many of the forty cars that had come to a stop on each side of the railroad crossing when they heard the siren of the train. According to stories these witnesses later told, the authorities, those on the side through which Romer drove his car, warned him and the other occupants of the approach of the traffic switch could be clearly seen for a mile down the track.

Driver Ignores Warning

Despite their shouts and the efforts of a railroad crossing watchman to prevent Romer from driving his little car across the rails, Romer "stepped on the gas" in an effort to beat the oncoming locomotive across the track. His car had just reached the track when the locomotive struck it in the centre and showered splinters of the sedan over the automobiles waiting on both sides of the track.

Aug. 5, 1923 edition of "The New York Times"