Submitted by PHGS member Claudia Patterson

The Portville Review, Portville, Cattaraugus County, New York 
Thursday, September 28, 1939


Is Thought to have fallen asleep on track - train crew exonerated by coroner. 

Thomas O'Brien, who lives with his brother Edward on Brooklyn Street, Portville, NY  was killed instantly Monday afternoon when he was stuck by the "Hoodle Bug" - the gasoline car which runs over the Shawmut line between Olean and St. Marys, about four o'clock Monday afternoon. 

It is believed that O'Brien started to walk down the Shawmut tracks towards Olean. About 300 yards east of the Steam Valley Bridge, he is thought to have laid down on the north side of the tracks. He used the gravel between the rails and close to the north rail for a pillow. 

It appeared that he was sleeping when the gasoline car approached. The front truck passed close to his head, arousing O'Brien from his slumbers. 

Raising his head to see what was going on, the spring hanger of the rear truck struck him on the left side of the head, fracturing his skull and causing instant death. 

A large crown gathered immediately about the body. Tony Wilson, who was passing, identified the body as that of Thomas O'Brien

 The body was removed to the Marble Funeral parlors where Coroner Smith conducted the examination. He failed to find any marks on the body, other than the fracture skull. 

 Coroner William M. Smith declared that death was accidental and exonerated the train crew from blame. 

 Coroner Smith, following his examination of the body stated that he believed that O'Brien had been drinking heavily and was in an intoxicated condition at the time of the accident. 

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