Monday, July 27, 2009

Michigan Central Worker killed by fast train

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Daily Press on Saturday, July 27, 1929.

Jack Platten, 25, a section worker on the Michigan Central Railroad, was killed instantly shortly after 8:30 this morning when he was struck by a fast westbound passenger train. The accident occurred directly in front of the Peninsular Paper Co. plant on the north side of the city.

Platten, who was not married, came to Ypsilanti last spring from his former home in Canada, according to acquaintances who arrived at the scene of the accident, and has made his home since that time with a married brother, Harold Platten, and his family on Newton St., not far from the place where the fatality occurred.

According to other members of the section crew and foreman, Platten was working on the west bound main line as the passenger, No. 17, on a fast run from New York to Chicago approached. An east bound freight train was passing on the other track as the passenger approached, and it is believed that the rumble of the heavy cars drowned the warning cries of other workmen and the signal of No. 17 as it bore down upon him.

Platten continued working tightening burrs on a switch, according to witnesses, until it was too late to jump from the path of the oncoming locomotive. He was thrown several feet to the right of the track, his entire face torn away so that he was totally unrecognizable. Teeth and portions of the man’s head and jaws were strewn along the track as police and Coroner Edwin C. Ganzhorn and a local undertaker arrived to take charge of the body.

The passenger train, in charge of Conductor William Chapin and Engineer W. Wallington, both of Detroit, stopped and backed up to the scene of the accident and remained until police arrived. Their statements bore out those of others to the effect that Platten continued working in spit of all attempts to warn him and that it was impossible to stop the train, which was gaining speed after passing through the city, in time to avoid hitting him. No. 17 is a through train that does not stop here.

Robert Blackmer, foreman of the crew of men with which Platten was working, said that Platten had been warned several times to be more careful of approaching trains and declared that he and several of the other workmen who saw Platten’s danger shouted warnings and ran toward him, unable to make him hear because of the passing freight. A similar statement was made by Lon Blackmer a brother of the other, who had charge of another crew working on a road crossing within a hundred yards of where Platten was struck.

Coroner Ganzhorn, who arrived from Ann Arbor shortly after the accident, viewed the body and questioned witnesses, following which he announced that no further inquest would be necessary.

No comments: