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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in the Inland Northwest: How a clever bank cashier sprung himself from a locked vault after a robbery

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

The region’s wave of armed bank robberies continued when an unmasked bandit walked into First State Bank of St. Joe in Idaho and demanded all of the bank’s cash.

The cashier handed over $3,252. The bandit forced him into the vault and locked the door.

The cashier found the screwdriver that he kept in the vault for just such an occasion. It took him 30 minutes to escape from the vault and raise the alarm.

By that time, the bandit was long gone.

A posse was in pursuit.

From the accident beat: A child and a teenager died and three other people were injured when a motorist attempted to drive up the “steep South Adams Street hill at his son’s request.”

Witnesses said the car had nearly made it up to Fifth Avenue when it suddenly started rolling backward.

“Whether the engine died or the driver put it in reverse, I couldn’t tell, but it started and went down with terrific speed, and with a deafening crash plunged through the east railing and to the ground below,” a witness said.

He and other witnesses ran to the scene, but the car was engulfed in flames. They were able to lift up the car and pull some victims away from the fire, but an 18-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy died. The other three occupants, including the driver, were seriously injured.

The 48-year-old driver told reporters, “I don’t know what happened, but she didn’t make it and although I put on the emergency brake and the other brake, she wouldn’t hold and got away from me. Oh, my poor daughter. I wish I had gone instead of her. Why did I ever try to climb that hill?”

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