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Erie County (PA) Genealogy

Family Histories & Biographies

November 1925 Traffic Fatalities

Contributed by Joyce (Bush) Cubley

Site visitor Joyce (Bush) Cubley provided the biographical information below. Ira M. Bush was her grandfather, and the father of Robert Bush, the child that was killed in one of the traffic accidents. Any questions or comments concerning this page should be sent directly to Joyce .

November 22, 1925

Peter Wingerter, 60; Tony Mazzagatti, 13, Die;
Coroner Starts Probes; Arrest Truck Drivers

One man and a boy were killed and another lad was seriously injured in traffic accidents this morning.
Peter Wingerter, 60, of 2916 Cochran Street, was killed at Twenty-first and Peach Streets. Tony Mazzagatti, 13 of 1102 East Twentieth Street, was killed and Robert Bush, 8, of 1122 East Twentieth Street was perhaps fatally injured at McKinley Avenue and East Avenue. Police are holding drivers of both trucks pending action of the corner.

Vern Hutchinson 36 of Harborcreek, is held in connection with the death of Wingerter. Alex Niedwicki, 22 of 215 Parade Street is held in connection with the death Mazzagatti and the serious injury to young Bush. Both drivers assert that the victims dashed in front of their machines so quickly that neither had a chance to avoid the accident.

Wingerter was struck at 21st and Peach Streets just before daylight. Walking north on Peach Street in the roadway, he was hit by a truck driven by Hutchinson who had turned south into Peach off Twenty-first Street. The truck struck the man, cutting a gash in his knee but the heavy fall to the pavement caused a fracture of the skull. He died within half an hour at St. Vincent's hospital. Hutchinson took the injured man to St. Vincent's where it was evident that his recovery was impossible and after delivering the injured man, Hutchinson went to police headquarters where he surrendered himself.

Young Mazzagatti and young Bush were struck while on their way to McKinley school. Niedwicki declared that he did not see either of the boys until they leaped on the roadway directly in front of his truck. "I had a clear view and as I approached East Avenue from the gas station at Petty Street, I saw no one in the road, " he said, "I came to a near stop as I reached East Avenue. There was a machine coming toward me but I had plenty of time to make it."
"Suddenly these two boys appeared right in front of me, I slapped on the brakes but the truck skidded into them. It hit them both and I felt the jar as the rear wheel passed over one of the lads." The injured youths were taken to St. Vincent's by Niedwicki and James Brennan, of 223 French Street. Mazzagatti died within 15 minutes and Young Bush is so seriously injured that hospital attendants fear his hurt may be fatal.

Hutchinson declared that he had come to a stop as he approached Peach Street in Twenty-first. "I slowed down at Peach Street to see nothing was coming" he said "Then when I saw the street clear I put the machine into second to make the turn, I had just started the turn when I saw this man in front of me. He evidently had not seen nor heard me." Hutchinson told police that he stopped before he had gone the length of Wingerter's body.

Coroner Hanley began an investigation into each accident immediately and, pending his action, both drivers are being held on open charges.


Rushed to Hospital After Street Accident Today

Erie's ever-increasing traffic toll claimed two more victims early this morning when an aged man and a little boy were killed and another boy lies dying in St. Vincent's hospital as the result of injuries sustained when struck by a heavy truck. The dead:
J. Peter Wingerter, 60, of 2916 Cochran Street.
Tony Mazzagatti, 13 of 1102 East Twentieth Street.
Seriously injured Robert Bush, 8, of 1122 East Twentieth Street.
Physicians at St. Vincent's hospital announced this afternoon that they would operate on the Bush boy in an attempt to save his life. He is suffering severe internal injuries and little help is held for his recovery.

Drivers of both machines are being held by police pending investigations which are being conducted by Coroner Dan Hanley. The Mazzagatti boy was boy was badly crushed about the head and body and died a few minutes after being taken to St. Vincent's hospital. Young Bush is in a serious condition suffering head injuries and also internal hurts that may prove fatal.

Union City, Pa newspaper
Robert Bush Succumbs to Injuries Received in Erie
While Boy Sacrificed Life to Save Him

Robert Bush, 8 year old son of Mr. And Mrs. Ira Bush, former residents of this city, but now living in Erie died from injuries received when a truck passed over his body at the corner of McKinley Avenue and East Avenue last week as the boys were going to school.

Vern Hutchinson, 36, a resident of Harborcreek, and a former resident of this city, where he was a teamster, was driving the truck which killed the boy. The accident occurred in a very peculiar manner and though Hutchinson was held, his attorney Miles h. Kitts, brought witnesses before the court at the coroners jury which cleared the driver of any blame, it being proved he was proceeding slowly at 8 miles an hour as he approached the corner. The two boys killed at the time, were crossing the street and failed to look for motor cars. As they gained the center of the thoroughfare, the truck rounded the corner, Tony Mazzagatti, who was walking with Bush, grabbed him and endeavored to push him from the front of the car. In doing so, Mazzagatti saved Bush from instant death, but was killed himself. Bush lived until the next morning when he succumbed to injuries received as the wheels passed over the two frail bodies. Private services were held at the home in Erie Friday morning and the remains of young Robert were then brought to this city where they were tenderly laid away in Evergreen Cemetery where services were held at 2 o'clock. He was a grandson of Mr. And Mrs. Monroe Bush of this city.

[Ed Note: Hutchinson was actually driver of a different fatal accident.]

Mourning for Boy Killed by Machine

Today at McKinley school Twenty-second and East Avenue there is sorrow. Little playmates of Robert Bush 8, of 1122 East Twentieth Street who died in St. Vincent's hospital late yesterday afternoon from injuries sustained when he was struck by a truck in McKinley Street and the Buffalo Road yesterday morning on the way to school, are wondering today where he is. Some are old enough to realize that he will not be back again. Others say why is Robert absent today. A bright cheery boy with a smile for everyone. Robert was one of the most popular boys in the school. He was loved by everyone. And chief among the mourners at McKinley school today is Miss Mary O'Connor, principal. It was with effort that she spoke of the tragedy and with tears in her eyes she told of days when the little fellow was the life of the school. She also remembered well a day back in June when Tony Mazzagatti who met death with Robert came to bid her good-bye. He had graduated and was attending Lincoln Junior High school at the time of the tragedy, but Miss O'Connor knew the boy and was proud of his record while a student in her school. We still have little Louis, a brother of Tony, with us and that is some comfort but everyone in the school will miss those boys," Miss O'Connor said.

Traffic Crash Inquest Tonight

Coroner Dan Hanley tonight will impanel a jury and conduct an inquest into the deaths of Tony Mazzagatti 13 of 1162 East Twentieth Street and Robert Bush, 8, of 1122 East twentieth Street, two of the three automobile fatalities Tuesday morning. The boys died from injuries sustained when they were run down by a truck operated by Alex Niedwicki, 22, who is being held on a technical charge of homicide. The accident happened Tuesday morning at Twenty-first and McKinley Avenue as the youths were going to school. According to the police Niedwicki vision is impaired, one eye apparently being partially closed.

The body of the Bush was shipped today to the home of his grandmother in Union City, where funeral services will be held Friday. Mrs Bush, mother of the boy, who is said to be living apart from her husband was notified of the death yesterday. She is living in Rochester, N.Y. Funeral services for Tony Mazzagatti will be held at 9 o'clock Friday morning from St. Paul's Catholic church neat Fifteenth and Walnut Streets.

Inquest into the death of Peter Wingerter, 60, of 2916 Cochran Street will be held Friday night. Coroner Hanley announced this morning. Mr. Wingerter died in St. Vincents as a result of injuries sustained when struck by a truck being driven by V. D. Hutchinson, of Harborcreek. The accident happened at Twenty-first and Peach Streets.

This page was last updated on  Saturday, December 24, 2016 .

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