Amherst Junction, WI Train - Buggy Wreck, Nov 1909


Train on Green Bay Road Demolishes Rig Near Amherst Junction, Thursday Night.

When John Klopotek gives up the earthly ghost, it is safe to wager that the cause of his shuffling off this mortal coil will not be on the account of coming in sudden contact with a railway locomotive. John had an experience last Thursday evening that he is not likely to repeat. Klopotek is a farmer in the town of Lanark, having last year purchased the J. J. Stadtmiller farm, which he occupies with his family.
On Thursday morning the young man came to Stevens Points to pay part of the purchase price still due on the property, leaving his three-year-old driving horse and top buggy at Amherst Junction until his return that afternoon. Among his accumulations while in the city was a comfortable jag, part of which he carried internally and the balance filled a flask which reposed in a coat pocket. John hitched up his colt at the Junction at about 6 o’clock and presumably started for home, but instead of going south and west he crossed the bridge over the Soo tracks, at the east side of the village, and thence guided his steed across a field and onto the mail line of the Green Bay & Western railroad. For nearly two miles the rig continued up the track, crossing a bridge at least sixty feet in length which spans the Tomorrow river, and a smaller culvert, until it reached the entrance of a deep cut, where the animal came to a stop. It is presumed that during most of this time Klopotek was enjoying a gentle slumber, and he continued to sleep even after the outfit halted.
The Green Bay train is due at the Junction at 8:25 p.m., but that evening was about 25 minutes late. Just to the east of where Klopotek’s rig stood there is a reverse curve. A considerable down grade at this point tended to give additional speed to the train, which together with the fact that the engineer was endeavoring to make up lost time, sent the train at the rate of at least 35 miles per hour.

It is evident that the horse was standing almost parallel with the ties when struck by the locomotive, as it was severed into almost two equal halves and portions of the body were hurled to either side of the track. The buggy was literally smashed into kindling wood and Klopotek thrown many feet in the air, landing face downward about three feet beyond the rails.

A portion of the debris got under the trucks of two freight cars which were included in the mixed train, derailing them, but before any further damage was done the engine and cars were brought to a stop. The crew and passengers soon located Klopoptek and lifted him to the locomotive which pulled out for the Junction. Dr. F. E. Webster was summoned from Amherst. An examination of his patient showed a gash across his forehead and another cut on the back of his head. It was feared that the young man had also been internally hurt, but as he is now on the road to recovery, the external marks are nearly the extent of his injuries.

People acquainted with the vicinity of the accident are amazed that a horse could travel across the bridge and culvert without slipping between the ties and becoming stalled. The night was “pitch dark,” which fact increases the wonder of the animal’s performance.

And how a man could be thrown through a top buggy by a train going at terrific speed, and live to tell the tale, is no less amazing.

Gazette, Stevens Point, WI 17 Nov 1909