John Steen, Obituary/Death NoticePorter County obituaries and death notices . . . .

John Steen

Sends a Double Header Passenger Train Down a 25 Foot Embankment Near McCool, on the B. & O.
One Man Instantly Killed, and Two Others Died of Their Injuries.

One of the worst wrecks that has occurred on this end of the line for years happened on the B. & O. railroad Wednesday morning at 7 o'clock, at a point midway between Babcock and McCool, on the Barney Hockelberg farm. The west-bound mail train, consisting of two locomotives and twelve coaches, crashed into the rear end of a west-bound freight train that was backing east at a high rate. The collision occurred on a heavy fill across a ravine that is perhaps 300 feet long and 25 feet deep. One passenger engine plunged down the deep embankment on one side, and the other engine went down on the other. The four mail and express cars were smashed, but luckily the passenger coaches kept the track, and none of their occupants were hurt. The freight caboose and two freight cars were reduced to kindling wood.

Engineer Harry Bradford, who was on the first engine, was instantly killed, and his ramains badly mangled. His fireman, John Steen, was injured internally, two legs broken and badly cut up. His death was hourly expected.

Engineer E. Sarber, of the second engine, received some painful wounds. Among these being a broken leg, and some severe wire cuts he got in the wire fence he went into with great force when he jumped from his engine. He will recover. His fireman, Elmer Orr, had his left leg broken, and was said to be the least injured of any of the men.

Drs. McLaughlin, Clippinger and Webster, of Chicago, and Short and Leedy, of Union Mills, were rushed to the accident as soon as steam could carry them, and the wounded men cared for. The passengers were sent back to Union Mills and transferred to the Grand Trunk road. The wounded men, all of whom are married and live at Garrett, were sent home. The dead engineer lay all forenoon in one of the wrecked cars, awaiting the arrival of the coroner, who held an inquest on the remains. The road was blockaded all day, although three wrecking trains and their crews were at work pulling away the wreckage.

The escape of Express Messenger D. M. Hipple was miraculous. His car was crushed into splinters, and he was buried in the wreckage. He came out unharmed beyond a cut on the wrist. He said this was the sixth and worst wreck he had been in. While the work of clearing away the wreckage was progressing, he was guarding several kegs of money and arranging his papers as cooly as though nothing had happened. Down one side of the embankment was scattered a car load of canned corn, on the other was a lot of nice fresh fish, oysters, turtles and other dainties. The crowd eyed these with longing eyes.

The wreck was caused by a flagman mistaking the call of another train for his own. An east-bound freight had pulled into McCool and side-tracked for the mail train. Just ahead of the mail, and west-bound, was a freight also making for McCool, to get out of the way of the mail. When on the Hockelberg farm this train broke in two, and the forward end had got to McCool before the trouble was discovered. The rear end sent out a flagman, and the train at McCool also had out a flagman. When the freight that had broken in two started back for the rest of its train, the one standing on the sidetrack called in its flagman. The signal was heard by the flagman standing guarding the broken train, and mistaken for his own call. Just as he had reached his train the mail train came in sight, and in less time that it takes to tell it, had crashed into the freight, and its two engines were in the ditch.

At the time of the accident there was a dense fog which, perhaps, prevented the engineers on the mail train from seeing their danger, and the wrecked engines show that they were not reveresed, but were pulled wide open. Both locomotives were badly twisted and damaged.

LATER. -- Word was received at this office Thursday that Fireman John Steen, of the head engine, and Engineer E. Sarber, of the second engine, died from the effects of their injuries after they arrived at their home in Garrett.

Newspaper: The Chesterton Tribune
Date of Publication: November 25, 1899
Volume Number: 16
Issue Number: 33
Page: 1
Column(s): 4

Key to Newspaper Publication Locations:
    Newspapers Published in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana
                Chesterton Tribune
                The Tribune
                Westchester Tribune

    Newspapers Published in Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana
                Porter County Vidette
                Practical Observer
                Valparaiso Practical Observer
                Vidette and Republic
                Western Ranger

The obituaries and death notices appearing on this website have been transcribed exactly as they were originally published in the newspaper. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of obituaries and death notices appearing on this website.

Obituary/death notice transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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