Kalamazoo, MI Freight Train Strikes Street Sweeper, May 1907



At Kalamazoo -- Others Injured -- Train Struck Street Sweeper -- Eighteen Cars Piled Up.

Lake Shore Fireman A. L. Wenger was scalded to death in a freight wreck at the Portage street crossing in Kalamazoo at 1:30 o'clock this morning and other men were injured and nineteen cars were piled up.

Engineer Ira J. Miller of the corner of Second and Harrison streets is suffering from the tearing of ligaments in one ankle and the laceration of one finger.  He returned home at noon, accompanied by Mrs. Miller, who had hurried to Kalamazoo.

Brakeman Frank Teeters of No. 321 South Prairie street was burned on the hands and head and remained in Borgess Hospital.

Engineman J. W. Null and Fireman Dennis Robbins, both of Elkhart, escaped injury, they being in the head engine, which miraculously escaped damage.

The train was in charge of Conductor Sherman Morrison, who escaped injury.  His other brakeman, Mr. Walters, was thrown from his feet, but was not seriously hurt.

The train, which was a double-header, struck a big street sweeper and hurled it against a switch in such a manner as to throw the switch, and as a result of the combined conditions one engine, the first, was overturned and nineteen cars were piled up.

The deceased and Engineman Ira J. Miller of Elkhart were in the cab of the second engine, 5049, and Engineman J. W. Null of Elkhart and Fireman Robbins of Elkhart were in the first, 5047.

When the head engine struck the sweeper and its two horses bit of the near horse caught on the pin in the pilot drawbar and dragged the horse against the switch, throwing it just before the tender of the second engine struck the switch.  The tender followed the switch rails and pulled the engine over on its side, while the head engine broke loose and proceeded.  The great engine fell over on its left side, pinioning Wenger down, in which position he was scalded to death. Teeters had just dropped from the first car onto the tender and the shock threw him into the cab, just in front of the firebox door. His feet became entangled n the chain, and for the first brief seconds that he struggled he had to push and shove the coals away from him by his feet and hands.