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Out of all the stories I've posted on this blog and put into my book "Death At The Station" this one actually got to me. :-( I can't imagine how the conductor felt for the rest of his life. I'm sure it must have been terrible.
My question is where is the mother? who let s a three year old play in the street? I realize children can move very fast but they should have had some supervision.
The Daily Enquirer 1895-04-12 vol.11 No. 10 http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/de2/id/105218
A tiny form, its face mangled beyond recognition, its arm crushed and the body filled with ghastly contusions, tells the story of three-year-old Leona B. Hilbert's tragic death yesterday afternoon, shortly before 5 o'clock, beneath the wheels of a car on the line of the West Side Rapid Transit Company.
Salt Lake Tribune 1895-04 -12
The accident by which the babe met her death was a heart rending one. The car was returning from the southwest portion of the city, and had reached a stretch of First West between Fourth and Fifth South when the motorman T. C. Armstrong, who was also acting as conductor, and collecting fares with in, felt it going over some obstruction and stopping the car discovered the bleeding form of the child. Life was extinct.
Coroner Offenbach was notified, and the remains were removed to the undertaking rooms of Joseph William Taylor. From the funeral chapel of which the interment will take place at 3 o'clock this afternoon.
The particulars of the sad affair are quickly recited. The ill-fated child had it is said, by those who witnessed the tragedy, been playing in the streets through the day, and had seated herself behind one of the telephone poles to tie her shoe, when the car approached. She rose suddenly and had just started on her way when the car came tearing down upon her. dragging her under its wheels, and carrying her form some fifty yards. The child was borne to the sidewalk where expressions of indignation that a company, holding a franchise under the city was allowed to operate without reference to the safety of human life. The victim was the child of Leonard Hilbert trunk-maker, who resides at 430 South first West.
W.J. Armstrong, the motorman-conductor, when seen last night was greatly affected y the shocking affair. He stated that he was obliged to collect tickets and attend to the motor and had gone back into the car to collect fares from some children who had got on at the Grant school. Before leaving the platform he had looked ahead and with the exception of an old woman on one side of the street, there was no one in sight on the entire block. When he had collected the fares and was just about to return to the platform, the car struck some obstruction. He did not realize what had happened, but stopped the car and upon looking back saw the body of the child lying on the track. The two Hilbert children, boy and girl, he said had been in the habit of running across the tracks and getting too close to the car, he had repeatedly cautioned them against it. The boy would frequently stand with his car against the trolley pole as the car approached ad yesterday morning the motorman had stopped the car and warned him against the danger. Armstrong supposed the little girl was following the example of her brother and was standing behind the pole so that she was hid from view, as she was not in sight when he left the platform, and her body was found about six feet from the pole. "The children are so thick on that street," said Armstrong, "that it takes all my time to watch the little ones from one end of the track to the other."
The company was in direct violation of the franchise by having only one man on the car. It was the only way they could stay in business. The dangers had been explained to the company president but he stated there was nothing else they could do other than close down.
Salt Lake Tribune 1895-04-14 http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/slt15/id/28132
Economy caused the death. Why street cars were run by one man.
Coroner Offenback's inquiry into the death of baby Leaona Hilbert, killed by a car on the line of the West Side Rapid Transit, was resumed yesterday and at 2 o'clock in the afternoon adjourned until 10 am Monday for the purpose of procuring additional evidence.
Ali Sibley testified to having witnessed the accident, but was ignorant of the whereabouts of the motorman-conductor.
Mrs. Mary Hilbert, the mother of the child, testified that Leona was pressing her ear to the pole and listening to the hissing of the currents when the crewless car bore down upon her. The mother's testimony was frequently interrupted with her sobbings, and the situations were at times, pathetic.
W. J. Armstrong, who filled the double position of motorman and conductor, repeated the story recited by him to a Tribune reporter. President Jacobs of the company had represented, he testified, that the earnings of the road would not justify the company in employing more that one man Witness had cautioned him of the dangers of "short help" but it was simply a question of operating the line in this way or suspending it altogether.
He left the power on upon going into the car, as was customary, and, as near as he could judge it was then moving at a speed between six and eight miles an hour.
Salt Lake Tribune 1895-04-17 http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/slt15/id/33675
Company Held responsible, Coroner's verdict on the death of Leona Hilbert.
The inquest upon the remains of Leona B. Hilbert, who met death under a West Side Rapid Transit street car, was concluded yesterday, the jury inding that it was due to the negligence o the company. President Jacobs testiied that he was president of the company, but a year ago had turned the line over to Armstrong and his partner, since which time he had paid no attention. There might have been he confessed something said about paying the men $1 a day if they failed to derive it from the earnings.
An action for damages is threatened.
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