Blood Found Underneath Car Proved That of Cow.
Rayville Train Wreck Tue, Nov 23, 1926 – Page 2 · The Monroe News-Star (Monroe, Louisiana) · Newspapers.com
RAYVILLE, NOV . 23.— The wreck yesterday morning of the Illinois passenger train No. 101, west bound, two miles west of Rayville, about twenty yards west of the Boeuf river bridge, created considerable excitement. The overturned locomotive was within a short distance of the Dixie Overland highway, along which many automobiles pass every hour, and within a few minutes hundreds of cars were stopped along the road, many of them from Rayville, and it was with difficulty that the traffic officer, who soon appeared, handled the crowds that gathered from every direction.
The spectacle of a big railway locomotive lying broadside in the mud at the bottom of a dump some ten or twelve feet high, with the smokestack full of mud and the big engine a complete wreck, furnished plenty of interest that lasted into the afternoon.
The tender or tank, was piled in and interlocked with the engine cab in such a way that it is almost unbelievable that a human could come out alive after being inside the cab at the time the wreck occurred. Yet, Engineer Sibley and the colored fireman, Huntley Nelson, escaped with minor injuries, and the porter of the train stated they were both out and clear of the wreck by the time he walked from the middle of the train to the engine. The fireman’s hand and arm was injured and both he and the engineer were scalded slightly.
The rail was bent in such a way as to make a bow extending from the overturned engine to the dump above and several feet in the air, furnishing a menace to those walking over it, in case of breaking under the strain. It was soon noticed and trainmen ordered a joint separated, allowing the huge steel piece to fly into a straight position. Several amusing incidents occurred in connection with the wreck. Spectators found considerable blood and what purported to be brains underneath a car, on the break beam. A physician was called and pronounced the specimen as not that of a human, but more likely that of an animal, such as a cow. Later it developed., the train had killed a cow at Tallulah. Another incident recites the case of a lady who was dressing at the time, in the sleeper. Feeling the impact she rushed out the apartment very scantily clad. She was rescued by the conductor, it is said, and calmed, returning to her apartment.
Where the wreck occurred two rail joints had been removed and the spikes removed from two more by the extra gang that was working at the point, in preparation of laying new steel, the new rails being coupled together and in position on the ground to put down and spike in a few minutes. The approaching train, it was seen, would arrive before the new rail could be filled in the gap, and a flagman was out and two torpedoes placed. Several people in the vicinity, including R. L. Boykin, himself an old-time railroad man, stated they heard the torpedoes sound. The mail clerk on, the train stated he heard them and others who were at Mr. Boykin’s filling station, near the scene, stated they heard the torpedoes and saw the flagman waving at the train. It is said the track crew, seeing the train approaching so rapidly and knowing a wreck was imminent, sent an additional flagman out on the trestle to flag the engineer and he was forced to jump off the bridge to prevent being killed. A push car that was on the track over the bridge, was struck and demolished.
The engineer stated that he did not hear the torpedoes or see the flagman, but knew the track gang was at work at this point and kept watching for a signal giving him the “highball,” and was too near the gap in the rail before he realized the situation. That greater damage and perhaps loss of life did not occur, is due, doubtless, to the timely action of the engineer in applying his brakes and reversing his engine aa soon as he saw the danger, though he could not stop in time. Even after the wreck the brakes were locked as tight as the entire air pressure of the engine could make them. The wrecker was soon on the scene and by 2 o’clock the track had been cleared and trains passing over.