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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Jury rules engineer at fault in train wreck that killed three near Cheney

A coroner’s jury concluded that the fatal train wreck that occurred just east of Spokane was caused entirely by the failure of the engineer, The Spokesman-Review reported on Jan. 20, 1917. (SR)
A coroner’s jury concluded that the fatal train wreck that occurred just east of Spokane was caused entirely by the failure of the engineer, The Spokesman-Review reported on Jan. 20, 1917. (SR)

From our archive, 100 years ago

A coroner’s jury concluded that the fatal train wreck that occurred just east of Spokane was caused entirely by the failure of the engineer to see several “automatic block signals,” warning of another train ahead on the tracks.

The reason he didn’t see the signals? The window was steamed up.

The engineer told the jury that instead of riding with his head and shoulders out the side window, he kept his head inside because of cold weather. Meanwhile, a leaky engine caused the side window to steam up, partially blocking the view.

The paper reported that the engineer was “plainly ill at ease” throughout the hearing and his face “bore signs of the mental torture through which he had evidently passed in the last 48 hours.” Three railroad men died when his locomotive plowed into the back of a slower-moving train near Marshall.

From the windfall beat: Mrs. Mary L. Humes, of New York, was rummaging in a trunk when she found a long-forgotten Hecla Mining Co. stock certificate.

She was holding $66,500 in her hands.

The certificate had been purchased about 25 years earlier for $500. Now, those 5,000 shares were worth $40,000.

And that’s not all. The president of Hecla wrote Mrs. Hume another check for $26,500, representing all of the dividends she had missed over the last 25 years.

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