Sangerfield, NY Train Crashes Auto, June 1936




Waterville, June 27. -- Six persons killed when the driver of the sedan in which they were riding raced into the path of a Lackawanna passenger train at Sangerfield, a hamlet near here, this morning, had been tentatively identified late tonight.
The victims are believed to be:
JOHN BETTIO of 310 East 52nd Street, Astoria, L. I.
MRS. ROSE BETTIO, his wife.
Their Infant Daughter.
OLIVER ANDREATTA of 4138 Barnes Avenue, the Bronx.
MRS. ANDREATTA, his wife.
BRUNO ANDREATTA, 14, their son.
Word was received tonight at the New Hartford substation, State Police from HENRY BETTIO of New York City that he believed his brother and family to be among the victims. He is en route to Waterville to seek to make an identification.
The identification of one body as that of ANDREATTA was based on a car owners registration card, and automobile drivers license and a postal card found in his pocket.
The owner's card bore the name of MRS. EDNA ANDREATTA of the Barnes Avenue address. The operator's license was in the name of OLIVER ANDREATTA. The postal card was addressed to MR. and MRS. OLIVER ANDREATTA at the same address.
It was a notification of a coming meeting of the National Union for Social Justice and was signed by E. Kadow, secretary, of 3582 Harper Avenue, the Bronx. It was dated June 4.
The sixth victim is believed to be BRUNO ANDREATTA, 14. However, none have been positively identified as yet.
The bodies of one man, one woman and the little girl were taken to the Mallory undertaking rooms here and the other bodies were removed to the McLean funeral parlors, also in Waterville.
Testimony given at an inquest conducted here this afternoon by Coroner Gordon Holden of Utica indicated that the car and train came together simultaneously, the driver of the car probably not knowing he or she was approaching a crossing.
Witnesses who testified included WILLIAM CHARNOFF, whose farm is right at the scene, and C. H. BOOKWALTER and WILLIAM STOPPLEWORTH, both of Waldham, Mass., who were in a car behind the sedan which was struck in the middle by the train.
Among the eyewitnesses of the tragedy were two Syracusana, MR. and MRS. JOSEPH GRESSON of 242 Fellows Avenue. THey had stopped on the other side of the track in the Cherry Valley Turnpike to wait for the train to pass, and, so were only a few yards away when they saw the death sedan hit squarely in the middle by the locomotive pilot as the car's dash across the tracks was stopped. MR. GRESSON assisted in removal of the bodies.
Other witnesses included BOOKWALTER and STOPPLEWORTH, who was in BOOKWALTER'S car. BOOKWALTER who was following the death sedan, nearly ran into the engine with his own car.
He saved himself and his companion by a quick swerve, which hurled his automobile against a signal post, wrecking it. But the occupants were not injured.
The sedan with its six victims inside was carried about 300 yards along the track before the train could be stopped. The wreckage was jammed over the locomotive front so tightly that it had to be chained to the rails to let the engine be backed away from it.
Everyone in the sedan was killed instantly except the little girl and she died 10 minutes after she had been removed, unconscious from the wreckage.
D.L. & W. officials at Utica said that OTTO KISUSNER was engineer of the train; H. YOEMAN, conductor, and L. R. SMITH, fireman. All three live in Utica. The train was from Binghamton on its way to Utica.
Coroner Holden announced tonight that he will continue his investigation into the accident next week. He plans to get further testimony from the members of the train crew who were questioned briefly at the scene. There is a row of elm trees near the crossing which may have obscured the view of the driver but MR. CHERNOFF said he heard the bell ringing at the crossing.
The cars were estimated to have been traveling at between 25 and 30 miles an hour. The pole which holds the crossing signal was struck by the WALTHAM car, otherwise several more persons might have been killed. It was raining at the time, witnesses said.

Syracuse Herald New York 1936-06-28