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Sunday, February 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Driver crashes into streetcar crowd; bank robber’s wife confesses

Autos were fast becoming the most popular mode of transportation in Spokane, but motorists were learning that winter fog and ice could spell disaster.

A dozen wrecks injured numerous people.

The worst accident occurred at Northwest Boulevard and Ash Street, when a driver was unable to see through the fog and veered off the road. A crowd of 15 people was standing on the corner waiting for the streetcar. By the time the driver saw them, it was too late. He tried to turn but skidded into them.

Two girls were knocked down. One was rendered unconscious and taken to the emergency hospital. She was revived there and treated for a scalp wound. Many other people suffered bruises and lacerations.

Many of the other accidents were caused by ice, coating South Hill pavement.

From the robbery beat: Lita Hartman of Spokane, the wife of the man who confessed to the Union Park Bank robbery, would be tried as an accessory to that crime.

Leo Hartman told police in Marysville, California, that he had given his wife $600 of the loot before he left for California. A Spokane detective said she was also aware in advance that the holdup was about to be committed. He also said she withheld information during the manhunt for her husband. He said there was no reason to show her leniency.

Her husband, an escaped convict, would probably not stand trial for the robbery, since he was being held on far more serious charges, including a murder in California.

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