Tag Archives: Elizabeth (Klein) Yeagerline

Roller Coaster Accident at Summit Beach (Part 5)

Roller Coaster accident - 1918-07-08, headlineRoller Coaster accident - 1918-07-08, part 5Hardy Tells Story

Hardy regards his fortunate escape to the fact that he leaped from the first car as it neared the ground in the terrific descent. His version of how the crash came follows:

I had been out to the park with Higgins and he urged that we make a trip ‘over the top’ before going home. There were four cars in the string we entered. We took the rear seat in the first car. Each car has four seats, thus accommodating eight persons all told. As we passed from the loading platform and faced the incline the cable that pulls the cars up gripped all right. There was nothing to indicate anything was wrong until we were quite a distance up. Then our car began to start going sideways – a sort of skidding stunt. We saw it meant a bad accident and shouted below for the cable to be stopped. Others in the cars that followed shouted as well, but it was of no use. On and on we went and then over the side. I thought it was all off for any of us. That more were not killed seems a miracle to me. I owe my escape to the fact I leaped from the car as it neared the ground.”

Officials of the Akron Scenic Railway Corporation declared Monday that the accident was not due to a broken wheel or any defect in the construction of the cars. They are still conducting a probe as to the cause of the first car skidding. The police report states that the four cars were fifty feet above the ground when they broke through the runway and fell to earth. Engine company No. 6 of the fire department was summoned to the park and assisted materially in clearing away the debris and aiding the injured.

Frank, King, 373 Pearl st., was dead when taken from the debris. General Bailey of Tarriff, W. Va., was still alive when rescuers dragged him forth. He died, however, while being taken to the People’s hospital.

Mrs. Van Sickle, the third victim to succumb, came to Akron but a week ago from Indianapolis, where her husband was interested in the automobile business. Mr. Van Sickle planned to locate here permanently.

“We had been planning great things,” said Mr. Van Sickle, in speaking of the loss he has sustained. Mr. Kurth invited us to take a ride out to the park in his car and we accepted, taking our six-year-old daughter, Charlotte, with us. It’s pretty tough to lose the best friend a fellow ever had. My wife’s parents reside at 415 S. Grace st., Indianapolis and her body will be sent there immediately. While we lived in that city we were located at 4915 E. New York st.”

“Roller Coaster Accident At Summit Beach Sends Three to Death, With Others Doomed,” Akron Beacon Journal, 8 July 1918, p. 13, col. 2.

A very special “thank you” is in order for the Special Collections Department of the Akron-Summit County Public Library. I emailed my request for more information regarding the roller coaster accident on Saturday and received the results in less than 24 hours. Since I received several days worth of information, I will be breaking the story down into smaller chunks for the rest of this week.

Sunday’s Obituary – Roberta E. (Yegerlehner) Van Sickle

??????????????????????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).

Van Sickle, Roberta - Three Killed When Roller Coaster Drops, 1918-07-08THREE KILLED WHEN ROLLER COASTER DROPS

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.

Image courtesy of Family Search

Image courtesy of Family Search

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
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/12/28/sundays-obitua…ner-van-sickle/