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Archiver > NEWSPAPER-ABSTRACTS > 1999-12 > 0944442131


From: "Robert Patterson" <>
Subject: [Newspaper] New Albany, IN
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 19:02:11 -0600


"UNDER THE WHEELS"

"The Five Year Old Boy of Mr. John Ruter Run Over and Killed by the Cars."

At 9 1/2 o'clock yesterday (Sunday) morning the two boys of Mr. John Ruter,
freight agent of the L. N. A. & C. in this city, attempted to cross the
track at the depot just as a freight train of twenty cars moved forward.
The children tried to pass under the cars. One of them succeeded in doing
so, but the other was caught by the trucks of a heavily loaded lumber car
and his head, from the mouth upward, separated from the body, and the
fingers of his right hand badly mangled.

The following is the testimony in the case taken before Coroner Lemon.

George Clipper sworn - Saw the child killed; saw the wheels pass over the
body. Have seen the child with Mr. Ruter's family. I was standing at
street and railroad crossing on Sycamore street. Saw the oldest boy come
through under the cars, which attracted my attention. Heard him scream, and
looking saw the youngest boy lying on the track. The train was pulling out
from the depot. There were 15 or 20 cars in the train when it passed over
the boy. Saw the child that was run over lying dead on its face. Jasper
Woods, Mr. Shea and myself were standing together. I did not recognize
where the child was at the time. The train was just starting out and was
moving slowly. The oldest boy was badly frightened and made a good deal of
noise, and this attracted our attention. Do not know th regular time for
the cars to go out.

W. H. Dyer sworn. - I did not see the accident. Was informed of it by Mr.
Shea. I saw the child lying dead on the track and recognized it as John
Ruter's child. It was lying on its face, with the head severed from the
body. The train was made up of cars for Louisville and we were switching
them for that city. I am yardmaster of the road. There were 20 loaded
cars, hauled by engine No. 11, in charge of of Lyman Schell, engineer. The
usual speed is four miles an hour. The train was gone when I reached the
place of accident. I was in the freight office when the train went out.
Mr. Sloss is the switchman. The accident occurred about 50 yards beyhound
the depot, at or near the crossing of Sycamore street. Do not know if
Schell is a careful engineer. He just came to work yesterday. Mr. Wayman
is the regular day engineer, and Mr. Schell was supplying his place. His
regular engine is No. 60. Was transferred Saturday evening, and made three
trips Saturday and one sunday.

M. W. Shea sworn - Saw the child killed. It occurred at the regular
crossing of Sycamore street and the railroad, on the main track, one foot
south of crossing. The train was going out. The engine was at the head of
the train, a good ways off. I was standing within 15 feet of the place
where the accident occurred, and my attention was first attract to it by the
screaming of the older boy. I was standing east of the train. Before the
train started there was a crowd around the cars. I asked if it was lawful
for trains to stand on the crossing. Woods and Clipper were on East side of
track. The train was a long one, extending from inside the freight depot.
When I first went there,the engine was not on the train. The train was
coupled on the crossing. There was no way to cross the street crossing and
road. I went to the graveyard and back before the accident and was gone
about 30 minutes. When I came back the engine was backing up. The car that
run over the boy was near the rear of the train - one or two cars perhaps
distant from the rear. One or two trucks passed over the child.

B. F. Emery sworn - Did not see child killed, but saw it before the train
passed over it. I was standing on the west side of the train. I heard the
older boy scream. I think the boy was knicked down when the train backed on
coupling, and think three or four cars run over him, saw no one at the rear
end of the train at the moment of the accident. The balance of his
testimony agreed with that given by the other witnesses.

E. Llewellyn sworn - his testmony corroberated that of Mr. Emery.

Jasper Woods sworn - Corroborated the testimony of Mr. Clipper and Mr. Shea.
He said the train had been standing coupled upon and blocking the crossing
for an hour. He said at the moment the accident occurred he and Clipper and
Shea motioned to the engineer to stop the train, but the engineer did not
see them as the train had gone around the curve.

John Dick sworn - Am fireman of the switch engine No. 11, and was on the
engine at the time of the accident. The rules of the road require the
ringing of the bell on the movement of trains through the city, and the
speed of the trains is four miles an hour. At the time of the accident I
was ringing the bell. Did not know that the boy had been killed until after
the engine returned from Vincennes street. Mr. Dick then explained the
rules governing the switching of trains, which rules he said were complied
with yesterday morning. The balance of this testimony related to the rules
with relation to the blockading a crossing longer than ten minutes. Mr.
Sloss was the man who made up the trains.

Lyman Schell sworn - Am an engineer of the L. N. A. & C. road, and was on
No. 11 yesterday morning. Have been an engineer for thirteen years. Mr.
Schell then related the rules of the company in relation to running the
trains, making up trains and &c. He knew nothing about the accident until
his return witlh his engine from Vincennes street. The bell was rung at the
time the engine backed up and when it started forward. There were 20 cars
in the train, all heavily loaded. The engine was fully sixteen cars ahead
of where the accident occurred. He had no knowledge of the accident except
what had been told him.

Mr. John Ruter sworn - I took my little boy Major Ruter, to the postoffice,
and when I came from the postoffice with him my older boy came to the office
(railroad) and I have them both a nickel to get them some candy. They
purchased the candy and came back (to the R.R. office) and showed it to lme.
I then bade them good bye, and told them to hive their little sister some of
the candy when she got home from Sunday school. That is the last I saw of
the child alive.

Mr. Dyer was recalled - He said the children were in the freight office with
himself and their father. The father told them to go home with the candy.
They started out the west door to go home. About five minutes after Mr.
Shea came into the office and said - "Mr. Ruter, your child is killed." I
immediately ran out to the north end of the depot, where the child lay dead
upon the track. The child had entered the track from the west side. Mr.
Dyer then at length, explained all the rules relating to the moving of
trains, blocking of crossings, &c..

Mr. Clipper was recalled - Stated that the cars were moving forward when he
saw the child fall and the forward tgrucks of the car passed over him on the
east rail of the main track. The car was loaded with lumber. It seems the
children were trying to cross the track by passing under the cars.

Dr. Lemon, the Coironer, returned a verdict of accidental killing, caused by
the child trying to pass under the cars just as the train started up, and
that no blame attaches to the railroad company, as, from the evidence, the
crossing was not occupied any long than necessary to the business of the
road.

Submitted by Bob Patterson

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