Posts Tagged ‘early automobiles’

New York City’s first-ever taxi crash victim

September 10, 2010

Poor Henry Bliss. The Upper West Side real estate man and a ladyfriend were getting off a trolley at West 74th Street and Central Park West on September 13, 1899.

Suddenly, he was hit by a vehicle described in a next-day New York Times article as an electric taxi. It may have looked something like this cab, from an 1896 New York Public Library photo.

Two wheels of the taxi crushed Bliss’ skull and chest. He was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, where he died.

This unfortunate incident marks the first time a pedestrian was fatally struck by an automobile. Not just in New York, but the entire country. 

“The place where the accident happened is known to the motormen on the trolley line as ‘dangerous stretch,’ on account of the many accidents which have occurred there this past summer,” the Times article adds.

The taxi driver was charged with manslaughter but acquitted.