Walter McDowell

Lewiston Morning Tribune
Tuesday, October 22, 1929

Train Kills Man

W. McDowell Crushed to Death on Spalding Crossing

Failed See "Bug" Coming

Prominent Gifford Farmer Victim of Accident - Think Attention Drawn to Train at Station.

Watching one train halted at the Spalding station, but failing to see a gasoline railway coach approach from the west, cost Walter McDowell, 45, well known farmer of the Gifford region, his life in a crossing accident yesterday morning at 8:35 o'clock at Spalding. The car McDowell was driving was demolished by the Orofino bound "bug" and he received a broken back and severe internal injuries, passing away at St. Joseph's hospital at 1:30 p.m.

According to eye-witnesses, including members of the train crew, McDowell was driving north from Spalding in his closed car. As he came within sight of the station he evidently centered his gaze on the passenger train bound from Stites to Lewiston, which was standing at Spalding waiting for the motor car to take the switch and pass. The motor car had slowed as it neared the station, Engineer C. D. Smith stated. When about 180 feet from the station McDowell was seen headed for the track, Engineer Smith saw that a collision was inevitable and threw on all brakes. McDowell, seeing his danger, applied the brakes to his car which skidded for some distance.

The automobile hit the coach at the front end. The impact was fearful. The entire forepart of the automobile was torn away and McDowell was thrown headlong through the windshield or out at the side door of the automobile and when picked up was lying parallel with the track. The nature of his injury led to the belief that the truck of the passenger coach struck him as he landed.

Otis Taylor, farmer of east Lewiston, and Mrs. Taylor were the first to reach McDowell. They were standing within 200 feet of the place where the tragedy occurred. Mr. Taylor said that when McDowell was picked up his head and one arm rested across the rail. He was placed aboard the incoming passenger train and taken to St. Joseph's where he passed away five hours later.

Stopped Coach in 65 Feet.

Engineer Smith stopped the motor coach within 65 feet after it struck the automobile, he said. Smith said that when he first saw McDowell's car it was within 15 feet of the tracks, moving at a fair rate of speed. McDowell was on his way hunting when he received the injuries that resulted in his death.

Mr. McDowell was a bachelor. He leaves two sisters, Mrs. George Glasby, Spalding, and Mrs. Edith Riggin, Spokane; four brothers, W. H. McDowell, Creston, Washington; E. G. McDowell, Greer, S. L. McDowell, Kamiah, and E. C. McDowell, Ontario, Oregon.

The body is at the Brower-Wann parlors. Arrangements for burial await advice from relatives. No inquest was held.

Contributed by Natalie Huntley

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