16 Oct 1936.


Transient Leaps In Front

Of Fast Mail Train


Killed Instantly; Buried In Local Cemetery


            Early Saturday morning while H. N. Wier, C. & E. I. station agent and Victor Watson, were waiting in front of the station to catch the mail from the fast southbound passenger and mail train that passes through here at 7 a. m. they were horrified to see a man suddenly dash in front of it and commit suicide.

            Mr. Wier said that the man was standing on a sidetrack as the train was approaching and when it was almost to the station, and probably not more than 100 feet away, he clasped his hands, arms outstretched and made a running dive headlong across the track, his head striking the opposite rail and his feet the other.  In another moment the train was upon him, crushing and buffeting his body for almost 300 feet down the track.

            The body was mangled beyond any recognition, and fragments were scattered on almost every cross tie down the entire length of the track.  The victim’s face was badly mutilated, his legs were severed above the knee, and all other parts of his body were badly twisted and broken.

            Other eye witnesses were Charles Curry and J. N. Siebel, both of Decker, who witnessed the suicide from a car on a side track.

            Coroner Roy C. Smith of Oakland City, was promptly called to conduct an investigation and returned a verdict of suicide.  A search of the man’s clothing yielded only a neck tie, a small box of matches and a lone one cent coin.  No papers of identification of any kind were found.  State Police Detective Doyle C. Skelton and Sheriff Braselton who were also called to the scene of the tragedy took finger prints of the victim for possible identification.

            The man was wearing a tan suede jacket and the only other means of possible identification, was that the fourth and fifth fingers on the left hand had been previously amputated.

            The body was removed to the Harrington Funeral Home to await decision of what disposal was to be made of it.  It is thought the unidentified man, was a person who gave his name as John Ferguson who leaped from the Evansville-Henderson bridge about a month ago in a suicide attempt and was rescued from the water by a river-man who happened to be in a boat close by.  At that time he told his rescuerers he did not want to be saved, but wanted to commit suicide.

            The man spent the night in the City lockup Friday night and according to witnesses seemed to be despondent and probably ill as he seemed to have a slight impediment to his speech at times and was partially paralyzed in one of his arms.

            Mrs. Charles Jones, also fed the man between 6 and 7 P. M. Friday evening.  Mrs. Jones stated that she saw a man in front of their home for about half an hour before he came to the door and asked for food.  He appeared highly nervous and paced back and forth at a distance of not more than 20 feet, before he finally came to the door.  When he finally seemed to pick up courage enough to come to the door he asked for a piece of bread, but since Mrs. Jones had just cooked supper she gave him a nice plate of hot food including a pint of milk and some cookies.  When he had finished he asked if he might keep a cookie, “as it is all I will probably have for breakfast,” he was quoted as saying.  The man was given the cookie wrapped in a paper napkin and upon being questioned he stated that he was very tired as he had walked all day.  He also said, “I am the man who jumped from the Henderson Bridge, and everybody thought I was crazy.”

            Word from fingerprint experts as Washington, D. C. was received and the victim was positively identified as the man who gave his name as John Ferguson that leaped from the bridge into the Ohio River.  The remains were buried in the New I.O.O.F. cemetery at Hazleton Wednesday morning following short funeral services conducted by Rev. A . C. Sisson.