Source: Crawfordsville Daily Journal July 25, 1916
That Woerner Corbin, nine year old lad who was killed by Big Four switching cars on Vandalla switch Monday morning, came to his death as a result of crushing injuries and that he was trespassing upon the railroad right of way at the time will be the verdict returned by Coroner H. B. Williams when he files his report with County Clerk Matthews on Wednesday. The coroner today completed his inquest, having examined twelve witnesses following the fatal accident.
The fact as the inquest developed were these: The Corbin lad with his younger brother and Darrell Wright approached the Vandalla switch just as two car loads of coal wee sent into the switch, striking three empty freight cars down the switch. The by stumbled and fell in front of the moving cars, lying in the middle of the track while one of the cars passed over him with out hurting him. Then when a section man called him to get out he tried to arise and his head was caught bye the wheels of the second car, death resulting.
The 12 witnesses examined by Coroner Williams in his Inquest were J. J. McNell, brakeman, of the switching crew, H. G. Weaver engineer, Fred Ginn crew foreman, Charles A. Boshen, conductor: George Fuller employee at the Pastor Brickyard: Darrell Wright and Jack Corbin, who had been with the lad: Ora Scaggs Vandalla section foreman, Charles Rider and Tuck Hudson, section men, J. W. Helfrich, Vandalla employee Chief of Police Ed Hill and officer Jere Long.
Street Not Opened
That the accident occurred at the spot where a street would be located were the plat of the town opened up there developed in the inquiry, but it was held that there is no street crossing over the switch along the plat has not been opened. The question to the right of railroad men to put a cut of cars in motion when no member of the crew was aboard the cars was brought up and the coroner was advised by Prosecutor in that the men had broken no law because of their action since the cars were not sent over any crossing. The lad's body was taken from the Harwood Funeral parlors to the home on Prospect street Monday evening. Funeral services will be held Wednesday morning at nine thirty from the home. In charge of Rev. R. J. Moss, pastor of the First Christian Church Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery.
Source: Crawfordsville Daily Journal 24 July 1916
Woerner Corbin, nine-year old son of Mr. And Mrs. John Corbin, Prospect street, was instantly killed this morning at ten-forty-five when he stumbled and fell in front of a cut of cars switching on the Vandella tracks a short distance north of the Junction. The boy's head was caught beneath the wheel of the second car and was mashed, causing death to come in an instant. The body was not mutilated, the only marks being across the head and left shoulder and the left foot that was caught beneath the wheels.
The tragic accident occurred when the lad, together with his younger brother, Jack and a neighbor boy Darrel Wright, were on their way to the Poston 'Brick Yard, taking a dinner bucket to the Wright boy's father, John Wright, who is employed at the mill. As the cut of cars approached down the grade Woerner started to cross the tracks. His younger brother called to him to wait until the cars had passed but the lad ran on. As he reached the double tracks he stumbled and fell. Lighting between the rails he would have been safely out of reach of the wheels had he not became frightened and tried to arise. The first car passed over the boy without injuring him, but as he moved forward the wheel of the second car struck his head, pinning the head to the rail and dragging the boy for some distance. When the cars came to a stop the boy's head was held beneath the wheel. Chief Of Police Ed Hill and officer Jere Long arriving at the scene ordered the cars moved in order that the body could be removed from the tracks.
Father is Located
John Corbin, the lad's father is employed as a driver for the Gosnell laundry and at the time of the accident to his son was on his route. He was located by phone and started on foot toward the scene of his son's death. As he ran he was over taken by the Harwood Funeral wagon on it's way to the junction and was taken to the scene by the undertaker. Lifting back the sheet that uncovered his son's body, the father staggered back and almost swooned. He had been prepared for the worst; having learned that one of his sons had been killed. Until he raised the sheet from the form of the boy. Mr. Corbin did not know which of his sons was the victim of the accident.
Mrs. Corbin was prostrated with grief at her home when informed of the tragedy and the family residence was a scene of sadness this afternoon. The boy who was killed was a bright cheery lad, full of life and loved by all who knew him. He had been attending the Tuttle School and would have been in the fourth grade this fall.
On Sunday Mr. And Mrs. Corbin took their sons to the woods to spend a day of pleasure. The boys enjoyed the outing and Woerner was unusually happy and full of life during the day.
This afternoon Coroner H B Williams of Mace was in the city making an investigation of the death. He questioned the Big Four crew that had charge of the switching cars. Though the accident occurred at the Vandalia tracks the cars that struck the lad were Big Four switching cars in charge of Big Four trainmen. The cars had been sent down the Vandalia delivery truck and were without an engine. The cars were from switching train No. 64. The crew in charge was Conductor Boshum, Engineer, Weaver, Brakeman, Cox and Fred Ginn, foremen of crew.
The body was prepared for burial at the Harwood parlors and was to be taken to the home late this afternoon. The family had not made arrangements for the hour of the funeral at a late hour this afternoon.