This story was published by the Ypsilanti Daily Press on Wednesday, May 5, 1909.
Struck by the fastest moving train on the Michigan Central railroad, the famous 24 hour Chicago-New York “Wolverine,” Elisha Petts47 years old, who roomed with Daniel Burden at 7 River Street, was thrown a distance of perhaps 50 feet, mangled almost beyond recognition and instantly killed Tuesday afternoon.
Petts was employed by the Michigan Central as a section hand.
He, with several others, was working near the Shanghai gravel pit, about two and one-half miles west of the city.
A few moments before the “Wolverine” was scheduled to pass that spot, a fast west-bound freight was seen bearing down upon Petts. One of the other section hands shouted to the unfortunate man, who forgetting that the east bound was scheduled to pass there at that time jumped from the west bound track to the other. As the fast freight swept by, the “Wolverine” rounded a curve and bore down upon the helpless man, who either did not hear the screech of the whistle or was paralyzed with fright. The engine caught the victim throwing him into the air and mangling him terribly. A few feet farther, the engineer of the “Wolverine” succeeded in stopping his train, which was probably going between 40 and 50 miles an hour at the time of the accident.
Petts was placed on the train and brought to this city, and the “Wolverine” went on in its mad effort to cut down the time lost.
Petts at one time was married but was divorced about eight years ago, by his wife, who resumed her maiden name of Mary Dingmann and who is now working for the Scotney Dairy Farms in Superior Township. Two children of their marriage are being taken care by the mother, Nettie, 14 years old, and Lillian, nine years old. It is said that Petts is survived by a sister living in Alma, Mich. Who has been notified of her brother’s death.