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Wednesday, October 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

“Dead Man’s Curve,” on the road to Palouse about 8 miles east of Colfax, claimed two new victims.

This dangerous curve above a high embankment acquired that name two years earlier when a woman was killed in an auto wreck.

Now, it claimed the lives of Karl M. Dittebrandt, 25, of Spokane, and Mrs. G.W. Rule, 55, of Palouse. Three other people were seriously injured.

Dittebrandt was a “demonstrator” for the Cole-Spokane Motor Car Co., and he was apparently taking four people on a test drive. 

The accident occurred where the road forks at the dangerous curve. Dittebrandt apparently started to take the lower fork, changed his mind, and tried to veer back onto the other fork. The car plunged over the bank at 50 mph.

The survivors were thrown clear and the other two were crushed.

The survivors said they had remonstrated with Dittebrandt repeatedly about going too fast and making the women in the car scream. 

“Dittebrandt was proud of the car and wanted to show us what it could do,” one survivor said.

From the Sandpoint-area beat: The county engineer was proposing to build a bridge across the Pend Oreille River at Priest River to replace the present ferry. This was a tall order, since the river is 110 feet wide at that spot. He said it would cost upward of $20,000, a considerable outlay for the county.

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