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Sorry, Mr. President

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“Pittsfield, Mass., Sept. 3. - The President of the United States escaped a tragic death by only a few feet in a collision between his carriage and an electric street car in this city today, while one of his most trusted guards, Secret Service Agent William Craig, was instantly killed and David J. Pratt of Dalton, who was guiding the horses attached to the vehicle was seriously injured. President Roosevelt himself was badly shaken up, but received only a slight facial bruise. Secretary Cortelyou, who occupied the seat directly opposite the President in the landau, sustained a minor wound on the back of the head and Gov. Crane, who sat beside the President, extricated himself from the wreck practically without a scratch. The carriage was demolished by the impact of the rapidly moving car and the wheel horse on the side nearest the car was killed outright. The crew and passengers of the car escaped injury.

The president and party were driving from this city to Lenox through South street, one of the principal thoroughfares of Pittsfield, which was lined with people. The catastrophe occurred in plain view of hundreds, whose happiness at the advent of the nation's chief was suddenly turned to grief. Thousands had poured into this city in the early morning from the nearby country to see and hear the President and his address at the City Park had been loudly cheered...

After a few minutes delay the journey to Lenox was begun. Meanwhile the escort of police officers and the carriages containing the newspaper correspondents who have accompanied the
President on his tour had started off ahead on the road to Lenox and were some distance in advance of the President's equipage. Three or four other open carriages fell in line immediately behind the landau in which the President rode with Secretary Cortelyou and Gov. Crane. Secret Service Agent Craig, who throughout the New
England trip, has been almost constantly at the President's elbow, was on the driver's box beside Coachman Pratt. Out through South street is a broad, smooth highway. The tracks of the Pittsfield electric Street Railway are laid in the center of the road, with ample room for teams on each side, and scores of vehicles of every description followed along this road in the lead of the President's party... The trolley car approached the road crossing under a good head of speed, with gong clanging, just as the driver of the President's carriage turned his leaders to cross the track... The carriage was upset in the twinkling of an eye and one horse fell dead on the tracks. The other three powerful grays attached to the vehicle started to run and dragged by them and pushed by the force of the car the wrecked carriage was moved thirty or forty feet.

Agent Craig fell from his seat in front of the car and it passed over his body. Driver Pratt in falling struck the head of the horse immediately in front of him and rolled clear of him, thus escaping a similar fate. The President, Gov. Crane and Secretary Cortelyou were thrown together in the bottom of their carriage... The President's lip was cut and blood was flowing from the wound. His clothing was much disarranged and he was severely shaken up. Secretary Cortelyou had a severe wound in the back of his head from which blood was flowing freely... Mr. Craig's body was found just behind the car. His shoulders and chest were crushed and the body was frightfully mangled. Driver Pratt was found unconscious in the road...

Chief Nicholson of the Pittsfield police and Daniel Ryan, an officer of the New York City department, who is on his vacation in this city, were driving about 100 yards ahead of the President's carriage and were among the first to reach his side after the collision. They immediately placed under arrest the motorman of the car, Euclid Madden, and Conductor James Kelly, and they were taken to headquarters in this city. Gov. Crane in relating his experience says he heard the gong of the approaching car in ample time and he immediately arose and warned the motorman to stop.
He says that the man apparently paid no attention to his signal or those of the troopers alongside and the car continued until it struck the carriage with great force...

Motorman Madden and Conductor Kelly furnished bail tonight. The charges against them are manslaughter. They will probably be arraigned tomorrow morning... Euclid Madden, the motorman, in telling his story, says the car had motors of sixty-horsepower. The car is not fitted with air brakes. On account of the presidential exercise, he says, the running schedule on all lines of the company were disarranged. He said he left the Country Club for the Stanley works, but only reached the Campbell House on South street when he was forced to make a stop on account of the ropes drawn across the street. Madden says that according to orders he stopped in front of the Campbell House until the time for his car to return to the Country Club. He says he was due at the Country Club at 9:45; that he did not in any way interfere with the procession, and so far as he knows, the car was not chartered for any special occasion. As he passed over the railroad bridge, about 350 or 400 feet from the scene of the accident, he says he shut off the power and put on the brakes, the car then being on a down grade. He says there were teams on both sides of the track and he was exercising every care to avoid accident. In his opinion the car was not running over eight miles an hour. He received no warning to stop and did not see the mounted men or Gov. Crane waiving their hands...

The story of James Kelly, the conductor is much the same as that of Motorman Madden, as far as the schedule and running arrangements were concerned. He said he was collecting fares on the west side of the car at the time of the accident and was on the forward end of the running board at the moment of the collision. He said he saw no warning given.

James W. Hull, one of Pittsfield's most prominent citizens and a director of the road, who was on the car at the time of the accident, was seen tonight with reference to the report that Motorman Madden was under special instructions from him to run through to the Country Club without stopping. Mr. Hull said: 'The report is unqualifiedly [sic] false. I cannot express an opinion as to the responsibility for the accident. I was a passenger on the car, but hardly realized what was happening until it was over... My first thought was that the car could be stopped in time to avoid a collision, but in the next second I realized that this was impossible... it seemed to me that the car was about
to stop when it struck the carriage. It certainly came to a stop within fifteen or twenty feet, but too late.'”

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, September 4, 1902

Car Was Run Unlawfully. Finding of Coroner's Jury is Filed at Pittsfield, Mass.

Pittsfield, Mass., Oct. 15. - "The finding in the inquest following the accident in which President Roosevelt's body guard, William Craig, was killed here last September, was filed today. It says: 'By the unlawful acts of James T. Kelly, conductor, and Euclid Madden, motorman, the electric car which ran into the president's carriage, contributed to the death of Craig.'"

Saginaw Evening News, Saginaw, Michigan, Wednesday, October 15, 1902


Madden May Be Given His Liberty

“Pittsfield, Mass., May 2. - The fine of $500 imposed on Motorman Euclid Madden, in connection with a sentence of six months for manslaughter in having caused the date of William Craig, President Roosevelt's body guard, was paid today by the Pittsfield Electric Street railway company. The payment of the fine, it is understood, was made in connection with a plan to secure Madden's release from the house of correction.”

Duluth News-Tribune, Duluth, Minnesota, May 3, 1903