Troy, NY Auto Wreck & Drowning, Jun 1943

Watervliet Mother Drowns as Auto Plunges Into River At Grand Street Dock

Car Is Lifted From Hudson River By City Employees, Coast Guard

Mrs. James E. King, 23, of 273 Ontario Street, Albany, mother of a two-months-old baby, met death about 1:15 p. m. yesterday when a 1941 four passenger coupe she was operating plunged from the dock into the Hudson River just south of Grand street.

The former Stella A. Stanik, she was a resident of Watervliet until her marriage last June and had been staying there with her parents for the last two months.

The car with its victim was recovered from more than twenty feet of water at 7:10 p. m. after firemen, Public Works Department employees, police and the crew of a Coast Guard boat had labored for hours. The machine is owned by Mrs. King’s husband.

Coroner Thomas J. Duffy withheld an official decision in the woman’s death. After an examination by Dr. William Kirk, jr., the coroner said death was caused by asphyxiation due to submersion, or drowning. He said that the secondary cause of death was anoxia.

The Kings were married a year ago this month. They have a daughter, Patricia Ann, two months old. At 1:18 p. m. yesterday State Police at Latham, at the request of Watervliet police, sent out a teletype asking that an effort be made to try to locate the woman who was reported to have left the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Stanik, 2138 Third Avenue, Watervliet, a short time previous. The message said she was in a nervous condition and was operating the coupe.

William Gamble, 182 Hudson Avenue, Green Island, was walking with his two children over the Delaware and Hudson bridge about 1:15 p. m. when he heard the car strike the water. He turned to see the wheels disappear beneath the surface.

Within a few minutes police and firemen were at the scene and preparations were started to recover the machine. The machine had landed upside down on the river bottom about twenty or 25 feet from the dock. There is no abutement{sic} at the point where the coupe made its plunge. Authorities said they did not locate any one who saw the car traveling toward the dock.

The emergency truck from the Public Works Department was brought to the scene and the department’s rowboat was launched. Firemen John Waite, Thomas Evers and Edmund Moore, of Central Fire Station, and Joseph Nial of the Public Works Bureau, operated from the boat. They hooked a cable to the car and an anchor from the Coast Guard boat also gripped the machine.

A winch truck from the Public Works Bureau was backed to the dock and the car was lifted from the water, a distance of about 15 feet from the dock. The victim’s husband had been at the scene while efforts were being made to remove the car but had left before it was finally removed. He later went to Central Police Station and there talked with Coroner Duffy, Capt. Joseph P. Shields and other officers. Undertaker William A. Sanvidge was directed by Coroner Duffy to remove the body.

Mrs. King had been staying at the home of her parents since the birth of her daughter, officials said. She and her husband attended church yesterday morning, the coroner stated. He is employed as a salesman by a soft drink company.

Had Draft Call.

At Albany the victim’s mother-in-law said that a few weeks ago King received notice to report for draft induction but because of his wife’s condition he was given a reprieve to June 16. Mrs. King formerly worked at the Montgomery Ward and Co. plant. She is a native of Watervliet.

Mrs. King is also survived by two sisters, Agnes J. Stanik and Mrs. Henry T. Onpkush.

The death car was taken to Rath Brother’s garage. Commissioner Thomas F. FitzGerald was in charge of the crew from the Public Works Department. Battalion Chief William J. Sharpe was in charge of the firemen and Capt. Shields and Frank J. Connery directed the work of the police at the scene. Detective William Michael J. Kane also investigated the case. The Squad Wagon was also rushed there.

Several hundred persons watched as operations were underway to remove the car from the river, many from the Delaware and Hudson bridge.

Troy Record, Troy, NY 7 Jun 1943