Collapse of the Elk River Bridge in Charleston

Charleston Daily Mail
December 16, 1904

Inquest Is Now On

Over the Bodies of the Two Little Victims of Thursday's Bridge Disaster

A jury of six composed of King Shepherd, Allen B. Spradling, William Fielder, George Ritter, John M. Collins and A. W. Fitzwater has been empaneled by Cjoroner Frank L. Beardsley to conduct the inquest over the bodies of Mamie Higgenbotham and Wray Humphreys, victims of the bridge disaster. After viewing the remains of the two girls at the undertaking establishment of Mead Brothers and Company, the jury repaired to the coroner's office in the Arcade where the inquest is now being held.

At the inquest which is still in session, Mayer C. E. Rudesill was the first witness heard. He stated that he did not know whether the city or the county owned the suspension bridge. He knew that the city did repair the roadway and that the work was in charge of the street committee. He stated that the city was planning to improve the bridge.

J. M. Saunders, Lew Jarrett and State Superintendent of Schools Thomas C. Miller also testified before the jury. Helen Cavender, one of the girls who escaped unhurt from the bridge went on the stand when the jury resumed its session after dinner.

The government diver was at work on the scene of the disaster on Elk all Friday morning but no more bodies were found and it is generally agreed that only two victims were drowned. The work has not been discontinued however.

Mozella Smith, who sustained a fracture of the arm, and Emma Tucker, both thighs broken and one arm, have been removed tot he City Hospital where they are receiving the best of attention.

Lillian Cavender who dropped to the water and was uninjured is suffering severely from the shock Friday and is under the care of a physician. She was unable to respond to the summons to appear before the coroner's jury.

Ottie Gibbs, who is suffering from a severe fracture of the thigh, has not been moved from the residence of Mrs. Hubbard on Charleston street where she was moved immediately after the accident. She is getting along nicely and the physicians are very hopeful of her recover.

Henry Fielder and William Holmes, the two drivers who were injured are getting along all right.

The funeral of Ray Humphreys will occur Sunday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock at the Free Will Baptist church on the West Side.


West Virginia Archives and History