One Killed, 18 Injured in Walter Reed Streetcar Wreck

On October 13th, 1919, an out-of-control streetcar was traveling down Georgia Ave. NW, near Walter Reed, when it slammed into a military truck, instantly killing one passenger on the truck and injuring countless others. Below is a photo of the devastated streetcar.

Walter Reed wreck
Walter Reed wreck – October 13th, 1919 (Library of Congress)

The Baltimore Sun had a special report on the accident the following day, mentioning a number of Marylanders injured in the accident.

Washington, Oct. 13–One man was killed and 18 other persons injured when a Forest Glen (Md.) car of the Washington Railway and Electric Company, city bound, filled with Government employes, crashed into an army truck on Georgia avenue near Walter Reed Hospital about 8 o’clock this morning.

Edward L. Sothern, private, first class, of the Quartermaster Corps, who was on the read of the truck, was killed. The truck was carried about 25 yards on the front platform of the car, when it toppled over. It is thought by those who witnessed the accident that Sothern was killed when the truck turned over.

Benjamin Hawkins, conductor of the car, escaped with cuts and bruises. He is being held at the Tenth Precinct Police Station pending and investigation. Witnesses who saw the accident declared that the car was speeding down Georgia avenue and that there was no warning.

The car struck the truck just below the driver’s seat, throwing it about fifty feet. The machine tore down a trolley pole serving a conduit leading to Walter Reed Hospital. According to measurements taken the car coasted 161 feet from the crossing befor it came to a stop.

this is the second serious accident on the lines of the Washington Railway and Electric Company in the last few months. A short time ago a city bound car on the Mt. Rainer [sic] line turned over at a sharp curve at First and R streets, N. E., injuring several passengers.

We wrote about that other accident as well some time ago, and there’s a crazy photo of the overturned streetcar. Take a look at it, and read what the papers reported the following day.

Walter Reed wreck
Walter Reed streetcar wreck – October 13th, 1919

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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