June 13, 1918: Two Men Victims of Train Disaster


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

June 13, 1918: One literally ground to bits and the other crushed into a shapeless mass was the fate of two victims of a train disaster at the New Berlinville railroad crossing this morning at 10:45.

Blandon Emes, the driver, age 20 and Carl Good, age 13, his helper, had left the cigar factory with a truck load of empty barrels to deliver to Zionsville. Trees obstructed the view of the railroad tracks and prevented Emes from seeing the approaching train, which was moving rapidly because they were running behind schedule. His truck was struck squarely with terrific force.

The engineer and fireman on the train both say they did not see the truck until it was on the tracks immediately in front of them, although they began blowing the whistle some distance away to announce their coming to the crossing. It is believed that the noise of the empty barrels rolling around on the truck probably prevented Emes from hearing the whistle.

The truck was hurled 185 feet, landed on a standing railroad switch and broke into hundreds of pieces. It had been impossible to halt the train until it had traveled some distance after the collision. Parts of Emes’ body were picked up over a thousand feet area around the crossing. Good’s body was found on the pilot of the train with both legs and an arm broken and his skull crushed.

Good’s father had been killed in 1915, also in a truck accident. Ironically, Good was born on the 13th of December, killed on the 113th of June at the age of 13. That crossing was considered a very dangerous one, and there had been many narrow escapes there.

Editor Spatz felt that the railroad company should be compelled to put up safety gates or an alarm bell at that place.

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