Street cars became a serious menace for St. Louis Police Officers during 1902 and 1903. Street cars killed six St. Louis Police Officers. The street car killed four of the six officers between 1902 and 1903. Street cars killed two officer each year.
St. Louis Streetcar from the Public Domain
A street car traveling in the opposite direction struck Terence J. Donnelly, while he was stepping off the Broadway street car. He died at the City Hospital on April 7, 1902 at 1 a.m. Donnelly’s death notice was printed in the August 9, 1902 edition of the St. Louis Republic. Donnelly was a 56 year old clerk at the Baden Police Station.
A street car struck William J. Boka on Christmas night 1902. Boka was attempting to board a street car at Olive Street and Channing Avenue, when the car pulled off at a rapid pace. It drug Boka for several feet before he fell. Street Car 325, which was following the other street car, ran over Officer Boka. Despite serious injuries, Boka lived until December 28, 1902. Boka was 44 years old and lived at 3315 Chippewa Street.
St. Louis Police arrested Nelson K. Healy, the operator of Street Car 325, The coroner’s jury charged Healy with negligence. However, when Healy died on May 13, 1956 at 87 years of age, he was a retired public service worker. It is unlikely that he was convicted of negligence.
Police Officer William Hoagland from the Public Domain
The eastbound street car at Belt Avenue struck William Hoagland, while he was headed home for dinner on Sunday, August 23, 1903. He died at the City Hospital on August 24, 1903 from a skull fracture without ever recovering consciousness.
Hoagland, was assigned to the Mounted Patrol. He joined the St. Louis Police Department with 99 other officers on June 28, 1876. He was 23 years old and would spend the next twenty-seven years of his life serving the city. Chief of Detective Desmond joined the St. Louis Police on the same day.
In the July 3, 1901 edition of the St. Louis Republic, the 25th Anniversary of this recruiting class was celebrated. Hoagland was one of 19 officers still active from this group of recruits.
Officer Thomas J. Hadican had been working Midnight Shift in the Seventh District, when he became the fourth officer killed in a street car accident. Hadican was on his way home on September 20, 1903, at 07:30 a.m., on the Fourth Street car. The street car hit an S-curve at Fourth and Plum Streets. Hadican was thrown from the rear platform of the street car onto his head.
Fellow policemen rushed him to the City Hospital, where a tragic scene occurred. His sister was a nurse, who recognized her brother being brought in. She broke down into hysterics at first. The September 21, 1903 edition of the St. Louis Republic noted her reaction caused many hardened policemen to tear up themselves.
Miss Hadican recovered and helped take care of her brother until his passing at 1:30 p.m. on September 20, 1903. Officer Hadican lived six hours after the accident.
Street cars while a good method of transportation also posed a safety risk to the officers of the St. Louis Police Department at the turn of the Twentieth-Century. Street cars and later automobiles killed almost as many officers as armed criminals.