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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
December 27, 1922

Gillen Admits He Ran Down Man Who Blocked His Road Near Mackay Estate.


District Attorney Is Satisfied With Explanation of Puzzling Death.


Twenty Are Hurt When a Trolley Car Hits an Automobile Truck in the Bronx.

The puzzling death of Phillip Carberry, 34 years old, an automobile salesman of Mineola, whose bruised body was found on the road near the Clarence H. Mackay estate at Roslyn, L. I., on Monday night, was solved yesterday.  Lester J. Gillen of Hempstead told District Attorney Weeks of Nassau County that he had run down a man standing in the road, presumably Carberry, in his belief that he was a robber who was trying to hold him up.

According to Gillen, who is a member of a well-to-do family, he and three friends were motoring from Sea Cliff to Hempstead when the killing happened.  The friends were Joseph Cuttle, a golf professional; Raymond Porrier, an expert accountant, and Thomas J. Hartnett, an electrician.  They came upon a Ford standing athwart the road, with two men near it.  Gillen said he and his friends thought the men looked suspicious, so he turned out and sped past the car.

Gillen and his friends went to a nearby cottage to telephone the police, but failed to put through the call, so their story went.  Then they turned around and went back.  They saw the Ford and the two men again as they neared the spot.  This time, they said, one man stood in the middle of the road, his hands stretched out as if to stop them.

Fearing a hold-up, Gillen put on full speed and dashed ahead, he admitted, his right headlight striking the man and knocking him down.  Later Gillen telephoned to Thomas J. Cuff, a former United States District Attorney, who notified District Attorney Weeks.  Yesterday morning Mr. Cuff took the automobile party to the office of the District Attorney.  Mr. Weeks indicated his satisfaction with their explanation.

Russell Webber, a Mineola photographer, told the authorities that he and his wife, while driving from Glen Cove to Mineola, came across the Ford and two men.  According to Webber, one man asked for help, saying that his friend, who was lying at the roadside, had been shot by robbers who had held them up.  Webber said that he took a pistol with three blank cartridges away from the man who accosted him.  He surrendered the weapon.

Leon Jankowski, a fireman on the estate of Henry C. Phipps, told the authorities that Carberry was one of two men who had stopped him while he was riding a bicycle on the same road on Monday night and beat him badly about the face.

Chester Blekicki, a brother-in-law of Carberry, was held on a technical charge of homicide after he had admitted being with Carberry when he was killed.  Blekicki gave a different version of the killing.  He said that he and Carberry were held up by two men, who later were joined by two others.  According to Blekicki, Carberry was run down by an unknown motorist when the robbers forced him to get out of the car and stand in the middle of the road.

Carberry was well known in Nassau County and was often seen in the Court House in Mineola.  He had acted as a special investigator for the District Attorney's office in some murder cases.


He Is Jolted Off a Patrol Running Board—Other Accidents.

Fireman Edward MacSwiney, 35 years old, of 441 East 141st Street, the Bronx, was run over by an automobile truck when he fell off Fire Patrol 2 at Broadway and Canal Street last night.  The fireman died in St, Vincent's hospital.

Witnesses told the police that McSwiney's fall was caused by a sudden turn the fire patrol took to avoid a collision withy the same truck that ran over him.  The patrol, driven by Fireman Joseph Trinker, was going north on Broadway. The truck, driven by Max Henken, and loaded with apples and oranges, was going East on Canal Street.  MacSwiney and two other firemen lurched off the running board as the patrol swerved. MacSwiney slipped as he struck the pavement and rolled in front of the truck.  The others escaped.

Henken told the police that he did not hear the siren of the fire patrol and did not see it until it was passing in front of him.  He also said he did not see the fireman fall under his truck and did not know of the accident until witnesses called to him.  He was taken to Police Headquarters on a technical charge of homicide.

The alarm that brought out the fire apparatus was a needless one, turned in when somebody saw steam coming from a building at Beaver and New Streets.  MacSwiney had been in the Fire Department for eleven years.  His wife and three children survive him.

About twenty persons were hurt last night when a crowded surface car crashed into an automobile truck at 141st Street and Southern Boulevard, the Bronx.  Three ambulances and ten doctors answered the call for help, but found that only one of the injured needed hospital treatment. Three others were treated by ambulance surgeons.  The rest had minor glass cuts.

The surface car, which was northbound on Southern Boulevard, crashed into the truck as it backed out of a gasoline station.  The collision threw the truck to the sidewalk, wrecked the front vestibule of the car and broke all the windows.  Eugene Miner, 21 years, of 341 Concord Avenue, the motorman, was knocked off his feet.  Lying on the floor amid a shower of broken glass, Miner reached up and shut off the power.  The car stopped within seventy-five feet.  Miner then became unconscious and remained so for an hour after he had been taken to Lincoln Hospital.  He received internal injuries, but his recovery is expected.

Others treated for cuts and bruises were George Weaver of 240 East 144th Street; William Harnish of 661 Jeffrson Place and Samuel Abramowitch of 995 Home Street.

David Marks of 1,765 Gleason Avenue, driver of the truck, which was owned by M. & S. Auto Trucking Company, which was arrested on a charge of assault.

Police testimony that two chauffeurs had used the Williamsburg Bridge as a speedway to settle a bet as to which had the faster taxi at 1:30 o'clock on Christmas morning caused the conviction of both chauffeurs of reckless driving in traffic court yesterday.  They were Benjamin Kaufman of 228 West 142d street and Louis Broser of 210 Ross Street, Brooklyn.

According to Patrolman Edward Curry of the Clinton Street Station, he found a crowd at the Manhattan end of the bridge and learned of the bet.  Climbing on a railing, he saw the two cars start for the Brooklyn end.  Seven minutes later he saw them speeding back at forty miles an hour.  He arrested the drivers when they stopped.  His testimony did not include the name of the winner.  The drivers denied there had been a bet or a race.  They were held in $300 bail for sentence tomorrow.

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