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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
December 12, 1922

Mounted Officer Struck by Truck When Directing Traffic in Flatbush.


All Autos With Defective Brakes Stopped—Many Drivers Summoned to Court.

When the police began a safety campaign in this city yesterday, a number of bad automobile accidents occurred in and near the city, including one in which Mounted Policeman Frank J. Mace was killed when a truck struck his horse.

The safety campaign was begun by police of the Bureau of Public Safety under Lieutenant Martin Noonan, who began stopping automobiles which acted suspiciously and examining their brakes. A number of cars were examined on the street and others were taken to police auto headquarters at Fifty-seventh Street and Twelfth Avenue for more thorough diagnosis.

The plan followed by the safety police yesterday was that of taking posts on street corners to observe the behavior of cars when the brakes were applied as traffic signals halted them. Any brakes not in first-class condition is likely to result in a "ticket" for the driver.

If the brake is merely slightly deranged the operator of the car will receive three days in which to have the defect remedies. At the end of that time he will be required to appear at the Fifty-Seventh Street Headquarters and submit his car to a rigid inspection.

If, however, the brakes on a car are seen to be badly in need of repair, a summons will be handed to the operator and the case will be sent to traffic court where it is said a $25 fine is almost certain to result.

The campaign is being conducted under the supervision of Special Deputy Commissioner Barron Collier, who believes that it will prove especially effective at this time when every manner of vehicle is being rushed into service to take care of Christmas deliveries.

About seven summonses were issued yesterday afternoon. Several other drivers also received "tickets" with the invitation to appear for inspection on Thursday.

Frank J. Mace, the mounted policeman, was on his horse Bulb when the truck him at Kings Highway and Flatbush Avenue. He was thrown from the animal's back clear so that his head struck the roof of the motor car. He was killed instantly, his skull being fractured and neck broken. The horse suffered only a broken shoulder blade and a veterinarian of the Police Department reported that he could probably be saved.

The motor truck was driven by John Johnson of 424 Franklin Avenue, who was arrested on a charge of homicide. The truck is owned by Charles Moscarelli, a cement block contractor of Avenue G and East Forty-eighth Street. Policeman Mace had been in the department since 1915, was married and lived at 2,621 Newkirk Avenue, Brooklyn.

Another Policeman Hurt.

Policeman Patrick O'Connor, 34 years old, of the Prospect Park Station, was injured last night when knocked down by an automobile while regulating traffic in the East Drive, Prospect Park, near Lincoln Place. He was treated by a adoctor from the Kings County Hospital and sent to his home, 188 Tyson Avenue, Floral Park. Jacob Weil of 316 East Fiftieth Street, Manhattan, operator of the automobile, was summoned to appear in the Traffic Court and answer to a charge of driving on the wrong side of the roadway.

Benjamin Waur, 42 years old, of 401 Blake Avenue, Brooklyn, lost control of an automobile he was driving and the car went down an embankment in Queens Boulevard, Jamaica South, and overturned, burying him under it. Other autoists extricated him and he was removed to the Jamaica Hospital. His left wrist was broken and he was badly bruised.

Stephen Docko, 45, father of four children, of Roslyn, L. I., was killed while bicycle riding last evening when struck by a truck, owned by Gimble Brothers and operated by John Dubicke, on West Turnpike Hill, Roslyn. Dubicke said Docko's lights were out.

Mrs. Russell Harding of New York, said to be a relative of President Harding, escaped injury near Hammonton, N. J., when Professor William McIntyre of the University of Pennsylvania drove his automobile into two motor trucks, parked on the White Horse Pike, to avoid colliding with another machine in which Mrs. Harding was a passenger.

Mrs. Henrietta Gambino of Philadelphia was thrown from Professor McIntyre's machine, receiving a fractured skull. She was removed to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, where it was said her condition was serious.

James F. Carroll, Deputy Collector of United States Customs in the Statistical Division, and his daughter Florence were simultaneously hit by the same automobile and both severely hurt last night as they were crossing St. Nicholas Avenue at 172d Street on the way to their residence at 255 Fort Washington Avenue. The automobile was driven by Benjamin Sahl of 2,413 Davidson Avenue. The injured were taken to Columbus Hospital, the daughter suffering from fractured ribs and the father from lacerations of the forehead and scalp. Stahl said he could not see them in the rain.

John McFadden, 30, of 263 Elm Street, Perth Amboy, was instantly killed early yesterday when an automobile in which he was riding sideswiped a freight train of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad at a grade crossing on the main State highway between Woodbridge and Rahway. McFadden was one of four occupants of the machine, which had been on its way from Perth Amboy to Elizabeth. The others are all in the Rahway Hospital in a badly bruised condition.

For speeding his motorcycle forty miles an hour on Riverside Drive from 119th to 124th Street on Dec. 3 Victor Calcagno, a clerk of 614 Jackson Avenue, the Bronx, will spend the next five days in the workhouse. This sentence was imposed by Magistrate Frederick B. House in traffic court yesterday. Motorcycle Patrolman James Gunshannon arrested Calcagno. Calcagno told the court that it was raining and he was in a hurry to get home.

Brakes Blamed for Crash.

Brakes that failed to hold were alleged to have been responsible for two accidents last night. A ten-ton truck loaded with coal from Owens & Co., East River and Forty-ninth Street, was in front of 230 West Ninety-fifth Street shortly after 5 o'clock. While the driver was in the house, the brakes on the heavy vehicle slipped and it coasted down the grade to Broadway, hit the curb and took the second grade there, after climbing to the sidewalk. Homegoers scattered as the truck bore down on Cushman Sons' bakery at 2,540 Broadway.

A middle-aged woman with a young girl paused frightened in the path of the truck. Then the woman half fell into the bakery. The truck hit the plate-glass window and wedged so tightly that it took three hours' work to extricate it.

Miss Marion Rust, 31, a nurse, of 146 West 104th Street; Mrs. Fanny Dabid, 50 years old, of 100 West 106th Street; Julius Gradus and Jesse Rosenfeld, employes of Rosenfeld's brother, Max Rosenfeld, of 1,403 Fifth Avenue, went to Knickerbocker Hospital as a result of the second crash. The two women were detained at the hospital, while the men were treated and sent home.

Gradus and Rosenfeld were on a five-ton delivery truck at Columbus Avenue and 108th Street. A one-man trolley of the 116th Street crosstown line, in charge of Motorman Edwin Arnold swung down the tracks. Just as the truck went on to the tracks Arnold applied his brakes. They failed to work on the slippery rails and the car and truck came together. The twelve passengers in the car were thrown about and showered with flying glass. All escaped except Miss Rust and Mrs. Dabid. The two men on the truck were pitched to the street. Both were unconscious when an ambulance arrived.

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