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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk



The New York Times
April 26, 1914

7-Year-old Run Over by Auto When Driver Backs It.

Playing in the street a block from his home at Central and Curtis Avenues, Richmond Hill, yesterday, 7-year-old John Galbraith, Jr., was run over by a two-ton motor truck, sustaining injuries from which he died two hours later in St. Mary's Hospital, Jamaica.

The youngster left his home and went to Curtis and Metropolitan Avenues to play with some schoolmates.  His mother told him to be sure to run home if it started to rain.  A big truck of the New York and Queens Electric Light and Power Company, driven by Joseph Gans of 35 Brenton Avenue, Jamaica, stopped at the corner for the driver to make a delivery of some electrical supplies.  It commenced to rain as the driver returned to the truck and tried to start it.  He was unable to do so at first, and Johnny lingered to watch his efforts, despite the rain and his mother's warning.

"Aw, get a horse," the child finally yelled derisively at the driver.

Just then the truck suddenly started backward, Gans intending to back it around the corner to turn it.  He did not see the boy, who was standing near one of the back wheels.  The wheel struck the youngster, and after knocking him down, ran over his body.

Mrs. Galbraith, leaving her house a few minutes later to find Johnny and learn why he did not come home, saw an ambulance stop near a crowd not far from her house.  She pushed her way through the curious crowd in time to see Dr. P. W. Bergen lifting her son into the vehicle, which started at full speed for the hospital. Mrs. Galbraith hastened to the institution on a car, arriving a short time before her child died of shock and internal injuries.

The police decided that Gans, the chauffeur, had been in no way to blame, and did not arrest him.

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