Westfield, NJ Trolley Car Jumps Rails On Curve, Mar 1901




Nine persons were injured in a trolley accident just outside of Westfield, N. J., last evening. That all who were in the car escaped with their lives is wonderful. The car leaped from the rails, turned a somersault down an embankment, and landed upside down.
The accident occurred on the Elizabeth and Plainfield Traction Company's oute between the two cities from which the company takes its name. The car was a sixty-foot one, and was bound from Plainfield to Elizabeth. One of the cars on the road was withdrawn from service last Fall, and it is said the remaining cars had to make the same number of trips as before. This necessitated very high speed in the country district, owing to the speed restrictions in Plainfield, Westfield and Elizabeth.
The accident occurred at Prospect Street just west of Westfield. The car was running on an embankment and attempted to round a curve at full speed. The forward trucks appear to have leaped from the rails at the sharpest point of the curve and, striking against the sleepers, brought the forward end to a stop, and the rear end flew into the air and the car turned completely over, going down into a ditch.
There were nine passengers aboard, and when the car turned on end they were thrown to the forward part in a heap. Then as the car turned over on its roof they were thrown upon the ceiling amid a shower of broken glass and wood. The women screamed and most of them fainted and were unconscious when taken out.
The news of the accident spread quickly and within a few minutes the injured were taken to Grogan's Hotel, where they were treated by DRS. COOPER and SINCLAIR.
The motorman of the car was thrown over the dashboard by the sudden stoppage of the car, and landed several feet up the track toward Westfield, and escaped anything worse than a shaking up. He was WILLIAM REYNOLDS, one of the oldest brakemen on the road. He says that as he neared the curve he attempted to apply the electric brake and it refused to work. He then stuck to his post until he was hurled into the air by the sudden stoppage of the car.
SAMUEL COBB, the conductor, was thrown from the back platform, and escaped with a few bruises.
The injured, with the exception of MRS. HART and her daughter, EDNA, of Westfield, are still at the hotel. MRS. HART it was found, besides her other injuries, has sustained a fracture of the nose. Her daughter, EDNA, remained unconscious for three hours, but the doctors do not think her skull is fractured, and think she suffered from concussion.
MRS. KHENANN it is feared has a fractured skull. She was hysterical after the accident, but sank into a comatose state, from which she has not been revived at an early hour this morning. MRS. HART and her daughter were taken home in a coach. The nine passengers who were injured were:
MRS. HART, and daughter of Westfield, both cut about the head and body by broken glass; bruised and suffering from shock.
MRS. SEELEY of Harrison, N. J., cut about the body, collar bone broken, and it is feared her backbone is dislocated.
MRS. AMANDA KHENANN of High Street, Newark; leg broken and suffering from shock.
MRS. F. LAMBERT of Westfield; badly bruised knee, contusions all over the body.
MRS. McDONALD of Rahway; bruised and cut and suffering from shock.
A. H. MOFFETT of Rahway; cut about the face, head, arms, and hands, bruised about the shoulders and hips.
J. B. HOLMES of Westfield; badly shaken up and bruised.
The REV. A. C. HAWSE of Brooklyn, colored; broken shoulderblade.

The New York Times New York 1901-03-14