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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
December 20, 1909

Wealthy Jerseyman Drove Full Speed Into a Tree—Four Friends Hurt.

Special to The New York Times.

BURLINGTON, N. J., Dec. 19.—Thomas B. Dennes, a wealthy Mount Holly liquor dealer, was killed on the outskirts of this city this afternoon when his automobile, speeding at sixty miles an hour, hit a tree and the five occupants of the car were hurled into the air while the automobile was reduced to a heap of wreckage.  William Barry of Jobstown, who was acting as chauffeur for Dennes, and Bert Goldman of Burlington were badly injured, while the other occupants, Lawrence Ashton and Howard Miller of Burlington, escaped with a few bruises.

The accident happened on the Columbus Road, a half mile from the city limits.  None of the survivors can clearly account for the accident.  Barry says the car suddenly became unmanageable and before he could stop the machinery it had veered to the side of a road and hit a tree.

Dennes was thrown head first over the hood and dashed against a tree. His head was crushed and death was evidently instantaneous.  The other occupants landed clear of the tree on the turf.

The crash as the car hit the tree was heard some distance away and farmers and occupants of other cars on this popular touring highway hurried to the assistance of the wreck victims.

Physicians summoned by telephone dressed the injuries of the four survivors, who were brought to this city along with the body of Dennes.  The wreckage of the auto was loaded into an express wagon and carted to a garage.

Examination of it, autoists say, increases the mystery as to what caused the accident, the steering gear being in good working condition.

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