Cleveland, OH Gas Truck - Streetcar Crash, Jan 1947



Fire Averted; Traffic Tied Up; Busses Are Called Into Service

Seventeen persons were injured, six seriously, in a collision on E. 105th Street at Chester Avenue N. E. between a crowded streetcar and a double-trailer gasoline truck last night.

The forward section of the northbound trolley was stove in by the crash. The truck's rear trailer overturned and spilled approximately 2,000 gallons of fuel into the street, but there was no fire.

The accident occurred at 7:20, tying up traffic at the busy intersection several hundred yards north of Euclid Avenue. Southbound traffic was resumed for trolleys by 8:15, but northbound service was provided by special busses until 10.

Injured at Mount Sinai

All the victims were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, a little more than a block north of the accident scene. Those injured seriously and admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital were:

CLYDE ALLEN, 34, of 3084 E. 79th Street, the motorman, who suffered possible fractures of both legs and other injuries about the body.

MISS MARY GRIFFIN, 26, of 10822 Olivet Avenue N. E., whose spine possibly was fractured.

MRS. MARY YOUNG, 40, of 1357 E. 112th Street, who also suffered a possible spinal failure.

MATHEW REINES, 34, of 5913 Scovill Avenue S. E., the conductor, concussion and a possible fracture of the vertebrae.

MRS. EVELYN DICKSON, 22, of 1516 E. 38th Street, injuries of the head.

JOSEPH ELLIOTT, 25, of 9105 Blaine Avenue N. E., possible spinal fracture.

Others injured were:

ROBERT FLEMING, 25, of 2238 E. 85th Street.

MRS. JULIA WRIGHT, 10623 Massie Avenue N. E.

MRS. VIRGINIA SCOTT, 33, of 10407 Empire Avenue N. E.

PERCY THOMAS, 34, of 1073 E. 97th Street.

CLAUDE TINSLEY, 32, of 1139 Parkwood Drive N. E.

ARTHUR ALEX, 50, of 1320 E. 70th Street.

SAM COLLINS, 26, of 10620 Grantwood Avenue N. E.

LUTHER SILVER, 36, of 10202 Garfield Avenue N. E.

JOHN PRYMA, 17, of 3555 E. 114th Street.

CHARLES YOUNG, 27, of 1337 1/2 E. 112th Street.

PAUL E. BANKS, 38, of 3802 Dawnins Avenue S. W., driver of the truck.

Truck Eastbound

The truck was eastbound on Chester when the accident occurred. It was not immediately ascertained from witnesses which had the right of way. There is a traffic light at the intersection.

No fire followed the collision, but two fire companies from the battalion station just south of the scene flushed the streets whith water to clear them of gasoline. Firemen and police were posted to warn passersby and spectators against smoking.

Much of the gasoline flowed downhill as far north as the hospital. The crosstown thoroughfare descends in a grade from Chester north to Park Lane, and from there more steeply to Hough Avenue.

Transit system employees worked for hours to haul the trolley away. When they arrived at the scene they radioed notice for additional northbound trolley service to be halted at the barns at Woodhill Road S. E.

Busses were put into service at that point.

Before southbound service was reinstituted busses were also used in that direction, detouring at Chester and cutting through the market area to Euclid Avenue.

Sohio Owns Vehicle

The truck was owned by the Standard Oil Co. of Ohio, but this was not known until some time after the accident. The vehicle bore no markings, and Banks, the driver, refused to identify his employer until he had spoken to company representatives. He later gave his version to H. Vincent E. Mitchell, a member of the law firm of McAfee, Grossman, Hanning & Newcomer.

Mitchell quoted banks as saying the light was green for Chester Avenue as he approached the intersection. The truck already was on the tracks when the light showed amber, Mitchell said, and the truck was well on its way through when the second trailer was hit.

The driver told the attorney he heard no warning signal from the motorman.

Motorman's Version

Patrolman Gerald Gilmore and Allen Schultz, members of an investigating detail, said they were told by the motorman that the trolley had been halted as it reached Chester Avenue. The motorman started away with a green signal and did not see the truck until an instant before the collision, the patrolman quoted Allen.

Pryma, a 9-A student at Thomas A. Edison Occupational School, suffered head and face lacerations. He said that he was sitting in the forward section of the streetcar and that the accident "happened so fast" he could not tell just what took place. He was on his way to the school for a music practice session.

Another passenger, Young, recounted that he had been sitting next to the fare box.

"The next thing I knew I was standing up," he said.

An observer at the hospital noted that the passengers must have received a severe jolt, a factor probably causing the possible spinal injuries to four of the victims admitted.

Nearly all at the scene realized that a sudden flash or spark could have turned the gasoline-sodden streets and wreckage into what might have been a flaming pyre for the truck driver and streetcar occupants.

The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH 29 Jan 1947