April 3, 1908
DIES IN GENERAL HOSPITAL.
A young woman who was crushed by the wheels of a Belt Line engine last night at 7:30 o'clock, died tow and a half hours later at the city hospital, without being identified. The scene of the accident was where the Belt tracks are fifteen feet below street level, half way between Brooklyn and Park avenues. It is near Nineteenth street.
The woman was walking eastward and must have entered the cut three blocks west, at the street level.
To avoid the Santa Fe local No. 59, westbound, she stepped upon the other main track, and a Milwaukee engine, eastbound, struck her. Pilot Al Williams was riding to work on the engine but neither he nor the engineer, James Spencer, saw her, nor did the fireman But the flagman on the freight train did.
She lay by the track, her left arm almost severed at the shoulder, and with a contusion, possibly a fracture, on each side of her head. A broad leather cushion from the car was brought and she was carried to Eighteenth street and Brooklyn avenue to the office of Dr. I. E. Ruhl, who saw that she was dying. The police ambulance from No. 4 police station, in charge of Patrolman Smith Cook and Dr. C. V. Bates, arrived and she was taken to the general hospital.
She seemed conscious, but could not be induced to talk. The only article she carried was a Sunday school quarterly bearing the name of Loretta Kurster, 1509 East Eighteenth street.
Drs. R. C. Henderson and T. B. Clayton, who operated on the woman at the hospital. said she seemed bright and could use her vocal organs, but evidently was suffering from a skull fracture so such an extent that she did not really understand what was said to her.
Asked if she knew how she had been hurt, she replied, wonderingly, "Hurt? Why, I didn't know anything was the matter." But questions as to her identity she did not attempt to answer, and there was nothing about her person to disclose this, besides the booklet.
In the meantime it had been discovered that Loretta Kursler is a 12-year-old girl who was uninjured and busy in her mother's bakery at the address given in the book. She thought it might be a Sunday school teacher she had met at Central Baptist church, Miss Blanche Wade, but Miss Wade was found safe at her home. She at once, however, went to the hospital to see if she could identify the woman. The quarterly was found to be one pushed by the Christian denomination.
The Kursler child having recently become a pupil at the Forest Avenue Christian church, Miss Wade called Rev. J. L. Thompson of the Forest Avenue church for aid in identifying the woman. Loretta Kursler said her Christian Sunday school teacher was called Grace, but she did not know her last name. The minister accounted for every Sunday school worker by the name of Grace and everyone who teaches girls of that size. Then the chance of discovering before morning who the woman was seemed very slight.
Apparently the woman was 32 to 35 years of age. She was slightly above medium height, was fairly well fleshed, was brunette with abundance of dark hair, had delicate hands, blue-set earrings worn tight to the ear, and wore a tan jacket and a fur neck piece. No hat was taken with her to the hospital. Around her waist was fastened a package containing $8.70.
Dr. Ruhl, who first saw her, thinks it possible that the woman may have been demented, or if an employed woman may have been making a short cut home from work. In the latter case he would believe her hearing defective.
The Kursler family is at a loss to know how a Sunday school book bearing the little girl's name would come to be found in the possession of anyone not her teacher.
Labels: accident, bakers, Belt line, Brooklyn avenue, children, churches, death, doctors, Eighteenth street, Forest avenue, general hospital, ministers, No 4 police station, Park avenue, railroad, women