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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Manslaughter trial for teen who struck pedestrian produces finger-pointing

Irma Hauberg now insisted Ray English, not Roger Bartelt, drove the car that struck and killed A.D. Allison on the Apple Way.  (S-R archives)
Irma Hauberg now insisted Ray English, not Roger Bartelt, drove the car that struck and killed A.D. Allison on the Apple Way. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A crucial question was debated in court once again: Which teenager was driving the car that killed pedestrian A.D. Allison on the Apple Way?

This time, Ray English was being tried on manslaughter charges, despite the fact that Roger Bartelt had already served six months at the Monroe Reformatory on the same charge.

This new trial came after two teenage girls in the car changed their stories and asserted that English, not Bartelt, had been driving the car.

English’s defense attorney tried to get one of the girls, Violet Comstock, to admit that she was paid by the Bartelt family to change her story.

She denied it, and said she and her friend Irma Hauberg changed their stories only when it became clear that the Bartelt family was being sued by the Allison family. At that point, she said, they decided to come clean and admit that English had been the driver.

Bartelt and English also took the stand. Bartelt was asked why he took the rap for the accident.

“Because I had taken my father’s car without permission and thought I might as well take the entire blame,” he said. “… I thought I might as well take all the blame and let English go free.”

But he said English didn’t show much gratitude. Right before Bartelt was sent to Monroe, English visited him. Bartelt said that English told him, ominously, “Dead men tell no tales.”

English denied ever saying that and also denied driving the car when the accident occurred. He said he took the wheel only after the accident because “Bartelt was so nervous and excited.”

From the Prohibition beat: Washington state’s newly appointed Prohibition director vowed to get tough.

“The booze-runner, the bootlegger, and the skulking debaucher and flouter of our dry laws will get no quarter,” he declared on a visit to Spokane.

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