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Street car nearly crushed running child

125 years ago in 1897

Taken directly from the Youngstown Vindicator

“A close call. A young lad falls under a South Side electric street car. Is saved from death by his presence of mind and prompt action of the motorman.

“Little Charles Welch, of 153 Carroll Street, narrowly escaped death in a most terrible form at the corner of Mill Street and Falls Avenue, at 4 o’clock Sunday afternoon. He is alive today due to the exercising of a presence of mind unusual in one of his years and the swiftness of Road Officer Milam of the Youngstown Street Railway Company.

“The South Side car jumped the tracks at the corner of Falls Avenue and Mill Street at about 3:40 o’clock Sunday afternoon, and it was impossible, without the assistance of another car, to get it back on the tracks. The rail crew was notified of the mishap and hurried an extra car to the scene in charge of Road Officer Milam.

“Quite a large crowd of persons were attracted to the spot, most of whom were children. Several small boys were amusing themselves, throwing burrs at each other and running back and forth across the street and around the disabled car. Charles Welch was one of these boys.

“As the extra car approached the above mentioned corner, young Welch, in trying to escape a shower of burrs, started to run across the street, directly in front of the approaching car, which he evidently did not see. The car struck him and knocked him down. As the lad fell, he grasped the truck beam beneath the car and tenuously held to it, and was dragged a few feet before the car could be brought to a standstill.

“The little fellow’s presence of mind in grasping and holding to the truck beam probably saved his life, although the car wasn’t moving fast and was brought to a stop before it had gone a car’s length after striking him down. It proceeded far enough, however, to have crushed his life out had he fallen on the rails or missed catching the beam.

“When the injured boy was taken from under the car, it was thought that he was fatally injured, but subsequent examination showed that no bones had been broken and that his injuries were flesh wounds and not of a serious nature. He was removed to his home and Dr. A. L. King was telephoned for.

“The physician arrived shortly after the accident occurred. He found that Welch’s left arm had been painfully bruised and lacerated and that his body was considerably bruised, but that otherwise, he was uninjured.

“Welch is the 9-year-old son of Chas. A. Welch, an employee of the Brown Bonnell Iron Company. Witnesses of the accident commend the prompt action of Mr. Milam in bringing the car to a standstill almost instantly. No blame is attached to the railway company.

“The injured boy is reported resting very comfortably Monday afternoon and will soon be up and about.”

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