THE INQUEST ON Ml JAMES COLVIN, U.P. How The Tragic Affair Happened "The Motorman Was Not to Blame"
The tragic death of Mr. James Colvin, M.P. (Buller), as the result of his being knocked down by a tram car at the intersection of Bunny and Fea-therston-streets on Wednesday night yeek was the subject of an. inquiry by Mr. W. G. Riddell, S.M., on Thursday afternoon. The accident happened shortly after 10 p.m., while the deceased member was on his way from the House of Representatives to the Royal Oak Hotel, where he stayed. Acting-Senior-Sergt. Wade conducted the inquiry, and Mr. J. O'Shea, city solicitor, appeared on behalf of the City Corporation. Dr. C. F. Pattie, who was the flrat medical man to arrive on the scene H-fter the accident, said that deceased was quite dead. Ho had received inlurles to his head, but the' cause of leath was probably due to shock, as the injuries were not ' severe and a younger man would have survived. Dr. Pattie said, that DEATH MUST HAVE BEEN INSTANTANEOUS, or nearly so. The driver of the car Which struck the venerable parliamentarian . was Motorman Jamesi Young. He said he left Lambton- Station nt 10.6 p.m. for Kilbirnie. On reaching the Bunnystreet stop (an optional stop), he said i he noticed deceased running across the street. He sounded his gong and threw on both brakes. Witness was only four or five yards away from de- j ceased when he did this and the tram ■was travelling at seven or eight miles an hour. Unfortunately it was not possible to pull up the car before deceased was struck. Deceased was thrown clear of the tracks and the car travelled another three yards after striking deceased. When witness went back Mr. Colvin was apparently dead. Deceased, m "witness's opinion, had endeavored to cross the line before the tram. There was np traffic about, and the light was good. Witness said he had no opportunity of avoiding the -accident. Archie Dockery, a porter, said he saw the accident, from where he was standing at the Bunny-street crossing. Deceased ran across the line, evidently with the Intention of boarding the car. Deceased was almost over the line when he was struck m the back and he fell like a log, his head striking. the road. Witness said that Mr. Colvin apparently expected the car would stop and allow him time to get round m front of it. Witness did not think the motorman could have seen deceased before he did. ! William Dempsey Kennedy, a telegraphist, said he thought the tram pulled up as 1 quickly as possible under the circumstances. Police-Sergeant Donald Scott gave formal evidence of identification. Hesaid deceased was a married man about 73 years of age, and had a wife and grown-up family at Westport. The coroner said he could haTdly understand why the motorman had not seen deceased as he crossed the road. Mr. O'Shea said that it had been laid down m the Supreme Court that a MOTORMAN MUST LOOK AHEAD, and not bother his head too much* about what was happening on each lide of the track. Duncan McGilllvray, tramway traffic manager, bore out counsel's statement. ■"■' ' :; "'■"" '■■'■■■'-'■' -'■■"•' / ■'•■•■ Hia Worship said that the evidence showed that deceased was seen running across the tram-line as the tram was approaching. He did not signal the driver to atop, and it should be noted that the place was not a compulsory stop. Deceased evidently intended to cross m front of the tramcar. The driver immediately sounded his gong. There was no evidence that deceased heard the gong, and the driver then immediately applied the emergency brake and the car was pulled up, but not before it had struck deceased, and thrown him to the RTOund heavily. He must have been killed instantly. "I am not prepared to say," said his Worship, "that the driver did not act as promptly under the cii'cumstances, as any reasonable person would have acted. In these matters there is a fluty which lies upon pedestrians Just as much as upon the drivers of tramcars, to keep a careful lookout. Accidents continually happen and •sometimes they happen m such a, way that one can scarcely account for them. One would naturally have thought that, seeing that there was no traffic at the Bpot, and it was well lit, that a single pedestrian going towards the tramcar would see it m time and have avoided the accident. But there is always the contingency that deceased may have made an' error of judgment. This was very probable, as he was apparently under the impression he could cross m front of the tram before it came along. The verdict was that deceased James Colvin, died at Wellington on October 29 from the effects of injuries received from being accidentally struck by a tvamcar at the intersection of Bunny and Featherston streets. The occasion of the accident was A MOST UNFORTUNATE ONE. He did not think that, the tram driver could be blamed for the unfortunate occurrence because he sounded his gong and on seeing deceased, applied Vhe brakes very promptly.
ality, generosity and elevated sentiment. His constant quotations from Moore and Bracken will ever be remembered by us all. How often have we heard him repeat that lovely and sublime prayer, the concluding lines of "Not understood." In heartfelt tones when nothing else occupied his mind and thoughts he would frequently repeat m reverent and serious tones: "Oh God! that men might see a little clearer, i Or judge less harshly where they cannot see. Oh God! that men would draw a little nearer To ono another, they'd bo nearer Thee, And understood. Then when hia Hibernian spirit of freedom was m evidence and his mind ran on the traits and characteristics of THE TYPICAL GOLDMINER of the early Australian and New Zealand golden age he would recall "old Bendigo," and m inimitable style and homely . eloquence would tell us. "The digger's shirt was freedom's badge, Beneaih it honors glow, Lit up by generous manly flame; On dear old Bendigo," Socially he had no peer, and his toast, to his native land was frequent but always welcome: "May Union's bonds forever bind In love the Kingdoms three; May Ireland gain her Parliament, May Orange lilies grow, The shamrock, rose and thistle blend Forgetting long ago." Our hearts go out m sympathy to his widow and children who as a family
Permanent link to this item
ACCIDENTALLY KILLED, NZ Truth, Issue 751, 8 November 1919
ACCIDENTALLY KILLED NZ Truth, Issue 751, 8 November 1919
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.