Posts Tagged ‘Fifth Avenue hit by car’

The car accident that could have changed history

March 11, 2013

East76thstreetsignAt 10:30 p.m. on December 13, 1931, Winston Churchill was in a hurry.

In Manhattan on a lecture tour, the British statesman was late for a meeting with his friend, financier Bernard Baruch. Stepping into 76th Street, he made a potentially fatal mistake: He didn’t look both ways to see if a car was coming.

Unfortunately one was. The car dragged Churchill and then left him in the street.

ChurchillphotoThe accident scored him eight days in Lenox Hill Hospital with a gash to the head, among other injuries (they gave him a prescription for medicinal alcohol—it was Prohibition, after all).

Churchill admitted the accident was his fault and arranged to meet the driver of the car that hit him, a jobless immigrant named Mario Contasino.

“Mrs. Churchill, hearing of the ill fortune of Contasino in his quest for work, suggested her readiness to help him financially. But when a member of the party proffered a check Mr. Contasino declined it,” wrote The New York Times.

Churchill’s injuries weren’t life-threatening, obviously.

But if he was killed on Fifth Avenue, and didn’t return to England to serve as prime minister during World War II, perhaps history would have taken a different course?