St. Louis Police Officers Killed by Street Cars 1902 – 1903

     Streetcars were a serious menace for St. Louis Police Officers during 1902 and 1903.  Streetcars killed six St. Louis Police Officers throughout the years.  Four of the six officers were killed by streetcars between 1902 and 1903.  St. Louis streetcars 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 streetcar struck William J. Boka on Christmas night 1902.  Boka was attempting to board a streetcar at Olive Street and Channing Avenue, when the car pulled off at a rapid pace.  The streetcar drug Boka for several feet before he fell.  Streetcar 325, which was following the other streetcar, ran over Officer Boka.  Despite tramatic 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 Streetcar 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.  I don’t believe he was convicted for this tragic accident.


Police Officer William Hoagland from the Public Domain

     The eastbound streetcar 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 streetcar accident.  Hadican was on his way home on September 20, 1903, at 07:30 a.m., on the Fourth Street streetcar.  The streetcar hit an S-curve at Fourth and Plum Streets.  Hadican was thrown from the rear platform of the streetcar 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.  The September 21, 1903 edition of the St. Louis Republic noted her reaction caused many hardened policemen to tear up as well.

     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.

     Streetcars, 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.  Streetcars and later automobiles killed almost as many officers as armed criminals during the history of the St. Louis Police Department.

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