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Mail Tribune 100, April 26, 1922

News from 100 years ago
The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago

April 26, 1922

ATTEMPTED BEAT TRAIN TO CROSSING

J. C. Eads, Driver of Truck in Fatal Accident, Makes a Written Statement — Heard No Whistle, Claims View Obstructed — Coroner’s Jury Exonerates Railroad.

According to the signed statement of J. C. Eads, driver of the truck which was struck by S. P. train 13 Monday morning, resulting in the death of two men and the serious injury of a third, he tried to beat the train over the crossing when he decided that by applying the emergency brakes he would stop directly in front of it. Mr. Eads also said in his statement that he heard no whistle, heard no bell, and looked both to the right and left, but that his view was obstructed to the right, and he failed to see the approaching train, until it was almost on him.

When turning toward the railroad track Eads also declared in his statement, that someone on the truck, he believes W. J. Smith, who was killed, said something about “everything being clear,” and the assumption is this remark caused him to drive on before the view up the track was clear.

That the train whistled for every crossing, however, that the bell was ringing throughout, and that a view of the train was possible sufficient distance form the crossing for the truck to have stopped or turned aside was deduced from the evidence of both the engineer and fireman of the train, supported by a mass of evidence of witnesses, both at the coroner’s inquest yesterday and the railroad hearing this morning conducted by D. S. Weir, assistant superintendent, of Roseburg.

No Warning Bell

Regarding the placing of a warning bell at the Third Street crossing, similar to the bells at other crossing in the city, officials of the railroad company at the inquiry this morning declared that there being several tracks at this crossing, several bells would have to be installed, and that the crossing is not considered as dangerous as the other crossings, as a reasonable view of the track can be obtained. The railroad officials also expressed the view that automatic signals like bells and moving arms, represent a hazard, because they may get out of order, and if the public depends upon them, deaths might result as a direct cause.

Both the reports of the coroner’s jury and the investigation board absolved the railroad employees of all blame, and declared the precise reason of the men on the truck not hearing the signals of the train was not “obtainable.”

— Alissa Corman; acorman@rosebudmedia.com