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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Road rage in 1922? It happened to a husband and wife, who remained in critical condition after the incident

 (S-R archives)
(S-R archives)

An incident of road rage – 1922 style – left Mr. and Mrs. Harry Frenger badly injured on the side of the Apple Way.

Their antagonists were two men, three women and a boy, who pelted the Frengers with stones and savagely beat them.

It all began when the Frengers and their small son were on the way to Liberty Lake in a motorcycle with a side car. Then “a big machine with these persons in it whizzed past us and crowded us into the ditch,” Harry Frenger said. “Their act infuriated me, for we were nearly overturned. I speeded up, caught them and drawing alongside, I told them what I thought of them.”

He passed them and had nearly forgotten about the incident when his motorcycle broke down. While he was stopped by the side of the road, the same car pulled up and stopped.

“Before I had time to even discover what was going on, they had all jumped on me,” Frenger said. “The women began pulling my hair, the two men began beating me up, and the boy threw rocks. One of the rocks struck my wife in the forehead and knocked her unconscious.”

The fight lasted so long Frenger said a crowd of 200 people gathered – but none, apparently, intervened or got the assailants’ license plate number.

Mrs. Frenger remained in critical condition at Deaconess Hospital.

From the cave man beat: W.R. Worley, aka the Deep Creek “cave man,” caused a ruckus when he allegedly frightened some girls because he waved at them while clothed in nothing but “short pants and long whiskers.”

The girls told their parents, who formed a posse of 20 citizens “about to march on Worley’s place and forcibly put some clothes on him.”

Deputies calmed the crowd by promising to have Worley at the prosecutor’s office the next morning to discuss the situation. This was not the first time Worley was asked to wear more clothes. Several weeks ago, he appeared in police court in shorts and was warned by the judge to “put a shirt on next time.”

Worley, for his part, said he had stopped to fix a flat and merely waved at the girls. He said he had no intention of frightening them.

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