Responsibility for Death of Four Persons Has Not Been Fixed by Officials
NO INQUEST YET CALLED
Police and County Prosecutor Can Find No Evidence of Crime in Affair
After five days, responsibility for the roller coaster crash at Summit Beach park, which on Sunday evening sent four persons to their death, is no more accurately placed than it was five minutes after the disaster.
If the cause is ever determined it will probably be in civil suits for damages brought by heirs of the victims.
The police abandoned their investigation into the case on Tuesday, and Thursday night County Prosecutor Roetzel announced that his investigations into the accident had failed to develop any evidence of a criminal nature.
Meantime it would appear that the coast crash is to be placed on the same shelf as the N. O. T. & L. disaster at the Glen bridge in Cuyahoga Falls.
Officials of the company controlling the coaster still maintain that the disaster was caused by some human agency placing a block of wood on the track of the incline, a theory that is scouted by others who have looked into the matter.
The company insists that no defect was found in the mechanical construction or operation of the coaster. To date this claim has not been given official support from any quarter.
Meanwhile Coroner Metzger has issued no call for a public inquest at which witnesses, including survivors, officials and employees of the company, can be examined.
It will be recalled that up to the present time Coroner Metzger has never held an inquest into the Glen disaster, where several persons were killed when a car on the Mountain line route of the N. O. T. plunged off a bridge into the Little Cuyahoga river although more than four weeks has elapsed since that occurred.
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“It appears that the only way you can rouse county officials to their duty and get an inquest ordered is by public clamor,” said a prominent attorney Thursday. “In other counties, “he continued, “you will find that the coroner is the first official to get busy following such death cases as we have had here of late. He’s expected to hold an inquest into every death by violence or where the facts are not clearly established. That’s what the coroner’s job is for.
“The people of our city don’t seem to care a rap whether public officials perform their duties or not. You haven’t heard any public clamor for inquests have you? Why, even the relatives of those killed and injured haven’t come forward with demand that an inquest by held. In any other city of the country there would be such a stirring up of things if inquests were not held as to bring about resignations. No public official had a right to slight his job, but the people here are lukewarm apparently. They don’t seem to care a hoot.”
“Coaster Probe on Shelf with Glen Disaster,” Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio), 12 July 1918, p. 1, col. 6.
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.