We are indebted to C.C. Yagerlehner for the following account of the death of his niece, who had moved to Akron, Ohio, a week before the tragic accident, which was the first serious accident that has ever occurred in the Yagerlehner family. Mrs. Robert [sic Roberta] Van Sickle was the oldest daughter of George F. Yagerlehner and was 26 years old. Mr. and Mrs. VanSickle with a party of friends were amusing themselves by making trips over a new giant roller coaster styled “Over the Top,” at Akron, Ohio. The men and the children had just finished a trip. The ladies had just started over the top on their trip and the car was plunging downward when a forward wheel broke, causing the car to leave the rail and plunge about 50 feet to the earth, killing three and fatally wounding several others. Burial was in Crown Hill cemetery, Indianapolis, Wednesday afternoon. Those from a distance attending the funeral were Grandmother Yagerlehner and Mr. and Mrs. John Yagerlehner from Clay City – Clay City News.
“Death,” Brazil Weekly Democrat (Brazil, Indiana), 24 July 1918, p. 4, col. 4; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 28 December 2013).
Akron, Ohio – Three persons were killed, and three fatally injured and eight seriously hurt when a train on “Over the Top” a giant roller plunged 50 feet to the ground at the local amusement park last night. The front wheels of the first car broke while making the ascent where the thriller commences. The crowd yelled in derision as the passengers frantically called for help. An infant in its mother’s arms escaped injury.
The dead and injured are: Mrs. Roberta W. Van Sickle, Ralph L. King, of Akron, and General Bailey, Tariff, W. Va.
Probably fatally injured: Clyde Keen, address unknown; Otis Smith, Akron; Dennis Glassford, Rockport, N. Y.; Harvey Biggins, formerly of Athens, Ohio, was injured.
The body of Mrs. Van Sickle, who recently moved here with her husband and child will be taken to the home of her parents in Indianapolis.
“Three Killed When Roller Coaster Drops,” Lima Daily News (Lima, Ohio), 8 July 1918, p. 2, col. 4; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 28 December 2013).
Roberta Elizabeth Yegerlehner was the oldest daughter, and second child, of George and Elizabeth (Klein) Yegerlehner. She was born 15 July 1892 in Indiana, most likely in Indianapolis. George was a blacksmith employed by the railroad, so he moved around a bit before settling permanently in Indianapolis. George and his brother Charles shared an address in Indianapolis as early as 1893.
Roberta married Floyd W. Van Sickle on 17 September 1909 in Indianapolis. They had one daughter, Charlotte, who was born in 1912. Floyd was a truck driver and a mechanic. He worked with his father and brother at Vansickle and sons on Hamilton Street in Indianapolis. The reason why Floyd and Roberta moved to Akron is unknown, but the result was tragic.
Roberta is buried at Crown Hill cemetery in Indianapolis with her parents. Floyd later remarried and is buried with his second wife.
©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
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