Prince William County Virginia Clerk’s Loose Papers



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By Mr. Hall:

Q. Will you tell the jury, please, sir, what you did with this piece of column-bolt and box-bolt as soon as you found it on the night of the wreck? Answer – when I found it, this piece of box-bolt, I was walking southward alone, and I put it in my overcoat pocket. When I found this column bolt up at Bristow, I put it in my pocket as soon as I found it.

Q. And did those bolts remain in your overcoat pocket until you got your private office in Richmond? Answer – I think I can say accurately that they did. However, if they had not, I could positively identify them as being the same ones.

Q. So they stayed in your overcoat pocket, and you didn’t show them to any representative of the Southern Railway on the night of the accident? Answer – I will not say definitely whether I did, or not.

Q. If they stayed in your overcoat pocket, how did you show them to any representative of the Southern Railway? Answer – I mean that they stayed in my possession, I thought the point you were trying to convey was whether I laid them down.

Q. Now, you answer my questions, and never mind about what I am trying to convey. You said that they stayed in your overcoat pocket; did you mean whether in your overcoat or not? Answer – I mean that they stayed in my personal possession, and I had them out and looked at them in the tool-car more than once, and I think I showed them to Mr. Puckett, but I will not say positively.

Q. You will not say that positively? Answer – No I will not say that positively.

Q. You didn’t show them to anybody else, did you? Answer – I showed them to our car foreman, trainmaster and assistant superintendent.

Q. You talked to them? Answer Yes.

Q. That night? Answer – Yes.

Q. When you were thinking about what caused the accident? Answer – Yes.

Q. And you did not talk to any representative of the Southern that night about what caused the accident, and about having the bolts, except, Puckett – we are leaving Puckett out? Answer – No, I didn’t think I did. I didn’t talk to Mr. Puckett that night. He was not there that night. I talked to him next morning.

Q. You talked to Mr. Hudson that night? Answer – I talked to Mr. Hudson several times that night.

Q. You discussed the cause of the accident that night? Answer – I think not.

Q. Didn’t you testify here that you did discuss the cause of accident, and you walked to the spot where Mr. Hudson said Mr. Puckett put the piece of box-bolt. Answer – That was the next morning.

Q. It was after twelve o’clock at night, do you mean? Answer – It was after day-light.

Q. When you were talking to Mr. Hudson the next morning, did you have these bolts in your pocket then? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. You were talking to him then about the cause of the accident, were you? Answer – I was talking to him, yes, sir, trying to locate the journal box-bolts.

Q. You were trying to locate the box-bolts Mr. Puckett is said to have found, but you didn’t say anything to Mr. Hudson about the one you had found? Answer – I didn’t know who had found them ---

Q. (Interposing) Answer the question. You didn’t say anything to Mr. Hudson about the bolt you had in your pocket? Answer – No, sir.

Q. You didn’t say anything to him about having found any nuts? Answer – I don’t think I did.

Q. Why didn’t you? Answer – I had no reason and no design for not doing so, but I had not gotten all the parts together, and I did not feel that I was in position yet to form a positive conclusion until I had gone as far as possible in an effort to discover all the failed parts.

Q. Had you found a piece of tie-strap you had referred to? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Did you show that to Mr. Hudson? Answer – I will not say positively about that. I think Mr.Hudson saw it.

Q. Did you tell him about it? Answer – No.

Q. Why didn’t you tell him about the tie-strap? Answer – I didn’t think I was called upon to worry Mr. Hudson about the details of the matter. He was not asking me about it, and I didn’t feel I was called upon to volunteer to give the superintendent information of that kind.

Q. You all were not trying to determine what was the cause of the accident at that time? Answer – How is that?

Q. Were you, or were you not, talking to Mr. Hudson in an effort to discover the cause of accident? Answer – I was talking to him in an effort to locate the box-bolt so I could have all the failed parts together.

Q. You wanted to have everything, and for him to have nothing? Answer – I wanted to get them if I could locate them.

Q. And you made a demand on the Southern Railway for the rest of them? Answer – I did not.

Q. You did not make any demand on the Southern Railway for the rest of them. Answer – I didn’t make a demand, but simply solicited the information, and it was done in the most pleasant manner, and Mr. Hudson directed me to Mr. Puckett.

Q. I mean subsequent to that day when you got home, to Richmond, didn’t you start in motion an effort to make a formal demand on the Southern Railway Company for the balance of these box-bolts that were said to have been found? Answer – I did not.

Q. You didn’t have anything to do with the further investigation of the cause of this accident after you got to Richmond (Pause), You dropped it right there, did you? Answer – No, I made report to our people.

Q. Did you discuss it with Mr. Shearer? Answer – I did not.

Q. Did you discuss it with Mr. Dunn? Answer – I did not.

Q. Did you discuss it with any of the legal department? Answer – I didn’t even with Mr. Dunn.



Mr. Mackey: Who is Mr. Dunn?

Mr. Hall: Claim Agent

Q. What became of the nut on the column-bolt that you said you found at the same time you found a column-bolt? Answer – The nut lock was retained until the time that we scrapped the other part of the truck.

Q. The nut lock, I understand, is a small thin piece of metal which fits over the bolt, as a piece of washer, and ties it on? Answer – It ties it so it can’t screw off.

Q. And you kept that until you determined to scrap the rest of the truck, did you? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. You got the truck in Richmond, did you? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Under your control and custody? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Was that a standard truck? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Was there anything the matter with that truck except the journal box broken and the tie-strap broken? Answer – The journal box broken and tie strap broken and the arch-bar badly bent.

Q. And yet that truck, being a standard truck, was in such condition that you could not repair it with those defects? Answer – We used the parts that were serviceable, but we did not retain it in our possession for any further inspection or evidence.

Q. Then you did not scrap the truck as you testified a moment ago? Answer – We scraped the parts that were not serviceable.

Q. Then you were not correct in saying you scrapped the truck? Answer – I did not mean to make the impression that we threw it all away, but the impression was that we did not retain the truck after we thought the investigation was over.

Q. Do you know when this suit was instituted? Answer – I don’t think I can tell you.

Q. Do you know how long there has been a controversy on between the C&O and Southern Railway as to the cause of this accident? Answer – No, I do not.

Q. Don’t you know that there has been a controversy since the time that the accident happened as to what caused it? Answer – I know that there has been a question very recently.

Q. Don’t you know that controversy has existed since the time of the accident? Answer – No. If I had known that the controversy still existed I would not have dismantled the truck.

Q. Did you know that this case was to be tried here as Manassas? Answer – I didn’t know it until a few days ago.

Q. When you scrapped such portions of the truck as were not serviceable, why did you keep the bottom of that column-bolt and the bottom of that box-bolt, and not keep the tie-strap and not keep the arch-bars? Answer – It may possibly have been a misunderstanding, but in talking with Mr. Dunn it was my understanding that it would not be necessary to hold the parts of the truck for further investigation, and I understood him to say that we had better hold on to these nuts. They were in my office laying on the window sills, and I understood him to say to hold on to the nuts.

Q. Do you do everything Mr. Dunn tells you, or do you act on your own judgment? Answer – I do in matters of that kind.

Q. You are master mechanic of the C&O? Answer – Of the Richmond Division.

Q. And you know the importance of the arch-bar, and you know the importance of the tie-bar in the theory you advanced today? Answer – I don’t feel that they would be important when other gentlemen of the Southern Railway had looked at the tie-bar with me, and agreed that it was a new break, and quite a number of their own officials or representatives on the ground have also looked at it – I didn’t feel that there would be any question about it.

Q. Don’t you know that the first report made by your company, telegraphic report to your company in Richmond, represented the cause of this as box-bolt shearing or breaking? Answer – No, sir. No such report was made.

Q. You say no such report was ever made by any representative of the C&O Railway? Answer – No, sir, not as the first cause, because that was not the primary cause.

Q. I hand you a telegraphic report of accident ----

Note: The same is handed to counsel for the C&O and counsel for the plaintiff.

Mr. Browning: This is an unsigned paper.

Mr. Hall: I want to know whether he can identify it, and if he can’t we will prove it by the man

who sent it. Q. Do you recognize that report?



Mr. Browning: Do you claim that is his report?

Mr. Hall: It is the original report made by the C&O, and the first that assigned the cause of the

accident. Answer – I didn’t see such report as that, and I can quote you the substance of the report that was originally made.



Mr. Hall: Q. You did not see this report. Answer – No, sir, I didn’t.

Mr. Browning: What is the date of that report, Mr. Hall?

Mr. Hall: It is dated February 23, 1915. I am not offering it now, but asked him to identify it if he

could.


Mr. Browning: And he could not.

The Court: I understood him to say that he knows nothing about it.

Witness: I know nothing about it. I never saw it.

Mr. Hall: What motive did you have for concealing from the representatives of the Southern

Railway the pieces of these column-bolts and box-bolts?



Mr. Browning: We object.

The Court: I do not think he has admitted that he concealed them.

Mr. Hall: He said that he put them in his pocket, and kept them there.

The Court: I think you can ask him what reason he had for not showing them.

By Mr. Hall:

Q. Why didn’t you show those portions of the column-bolt and box-bolts to representatives of the Southern Railway on the night of the accident? Answer – I had no reason for not doing it, and, as I stated awhile ago, I am not sure that I did not. I am not sure that I did and I am not sure that I did not. I am not sure that I did and I am not sure that I didn’t.

Q. You are qualifying it that you don’t know whether you did, or not? Answer – I stated that awhile ago, that I didn’t know whether I did or didn’t show them to Mr. Puckett.

Q. Who did you talk to representing the Southern Railway that night? Answer – I talked to Mr. Hudson, the only representative I know of.

Q. He is the only one you talked to? Answer – That I know of. I was not acquainted with the representatives on the ground, but so far as I know he was the only Southern Railway representative I spoke to.

Q. And you might have shown these nuts to Mr. Puckett, and not talked to him? Answer – I might have shown them to him next morning. He was not there that night.

Q. What time did Mr. Puckett get there? Answer – I don’t know, but next morning early.

Q. Who did you talk to representing the Southern Railway that night and up to twelve o’clock the next day? Answer – I didn’t talk to any representative of the Southern Railway I knew unless it was Mr. Hudson.

Q. Who did you talk to of the Southern Railway next morning except Mr. Hudson? Answer – So far as I know I didn’t have any conversation with any of the Southern Railway people except Mr. Hudson and Mr. Puckett, I might have exchanged remarks with some of them, not beng acquainted with them, but, if so, I don’t know it.

Q. You don’t know whether next morning you showed those bolts to Mr. Puckett, or not? Answer – I will not say positively.

Q. You are sure you didn’t show them to Mr. Puckett? Answer – I don’t think I did.

Q. Now are you qualifying it? You knew you didn’t a few minutes ago? Answer – No, I didn’t.

Q. To Mr. Hudson? Answer – No.

The Court: I think he stated that he didn’t show them to Mr. Hudson, and he didn’t know whether

he did to Mr. Puckett or not.



Witness: If your Honor will let me, I think the gentleman asked me if I showed those nuts to Mr.

Hudson at the time I was looking for the journal bolt, and I didn’t.



The Court: If you showed them to him at any other time, why didn’t you answer that question?

Answer – I am not sure whether I showed them to him later. I had no motive in concealing it.



The Court: When you answer that question answer it fully.

Mr. Hall: Mr. Hudson told you about the tie-bar, didn’t he? Answer – He did not.

The Court: Do you mean the tie-bar?

By Mr. Hall: Yes, sir, the piece that was broken off.

Q, He was not there when you found the tie-bar? Answer – He was not with us when we found the tie-bar.

Q. What did you do with the tie-bar? Answer – Carried it to the tool-car.

Q. And kept it in the tool-car until you got to Richmond? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Mr. Flanagan, on a truck of that character the tie-bar is in plain view, isn’t it – all the tie-bar practically in proper shape is in plain view? (Pause). Assuming you are a competent inspector for a railroad company, the tie-bar is in plain view, isn’t it? Answer – Any defect in the tie-bar could be observed all right by an inspector.

Q. If it were the case that the holes in the arch-bar, that the box-bolt holes in the arch-bar were elongated by reason of play of loose bolts, could that be observed by ordinary inspection? Answer – It could not be observed by ordinary inspection, but I have never known of a defect of that kind.

Q. Just confine yourself to the question now. Now, is it your theory, then, Mr. Flanagan, that this accident was caused by an apparent defect, rather than by a concealed defect, if there was any defect at all – a defect in the tie-bar rather than a defect in the arch-bolt holes? Answer – I do not think there was any defect in it at all, but caused by that part breaking, it having an excessive strain at that particular time when it did fail.

Q. Do you know what the rated capacity of C&O car 25227 was? Answer – The original specifications called for it to be built for 110,000 pounds capacity.

Q. You know that? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Is it so rated in the railway register? Answer – I don’t know about that.

Q. Its stencil capacity is what? Answer – 110,000 pounds.

Q. Has that stencil capacity changed?



Mr. Browning: He was not asked by us, who put him in the examination in chief, about this, and

we would like to know the purpose of the line of cross examination?



Mr. Hall: Shall I state it?

Mr. Browning: I don’t know that we have hailed here to meet any such charge; there is no such

charge in the declaration.



The Court: The declaration not having charged that this accident was caused by an overloaded

car, I don’t think that this evidence is admissible so far as that is concerned, but it seems that there is a controversy between the two defendants companies as to the cause of the accident, One of them says it was due to a worn hole through the arch-bar. That is the contention of the Southern Railway Company as I understand, that there was so much play that, like a pair of scissors, it cut a hole, and the others says that the arch-bar was in good condition, and that it was due to the condition of the track, that the Southern Railway did not construct the bed of the roadway in such condition as to let it go over safely, and the jolting and jarring caused the tie-bar to break, and the breaking of the tie-bar and not the elongation of the holes in the other bar caused the accident. Now, as these gentlemen, I suppose by way of sur-rebuttal, will say you are mistaken about that; if that tie-bar did break, it was due to the fact that you put too much load on it. I say as to the plaintiff it does not affect it. I will not admit it. The jury will not consider it. If the jury believe that the plaintiff is entitled to a verdict, they cannot give it unless they believe that the accident was caused by one of the things charged in the declaration. If they believe that this car was so loaded that, that brought about the accident, I do not believe that they could bring in a verdict for the plaintiff, as it is not charged.



Mr. Mackey: Except the declaration charges mismanagement, but we do not care anything about

it.


The Court: You gentlemen can note an exception. I have allowed you to go into the track as far as

you allege. In the absence of the jury I told you I would let you go into it. While the declaration charges defect at the place of accident, if there is a defect otherwise I think that it is fair. I may be wrong, but note an exception. I think that these gentlemen have a right to show that it was not the depression in the track that caused it, but that it was the overloading.



Mr. Mackey: Would not they have to follow it up by showing that there was overloading?

The Court: Of course they would. I want to make that explanation so the jury will understand that

they are not interested except so far as they will put this liability, if any, Note an exception to the ruling of the court to all questions involving the fact whether or not these cars were overloaded.



Mr. Mackey: I want the record to show that your Honor lets it in on the theory that they will

prove overloading.



By Mr. Hall:

Q. Do you know the question? Answer – No sir, I would rather have it read.

Q. (The question is read as follows: Has that stencil capacity been changed?”) Note: The question is amended to read: “Has that stencil capacity been changed recently?” Answer – I am unable to answer that question.

Q. Are you a track man or a shop man, Mr. Flanagan? Answer – I am a master mechanic, and supposed to be a motor car department man.

Q. That is, your duties are in connection with the equipment in the shop. What is the scope of your duties? Answer – My duties require me to have supervision over repairs and maintenance over all freight and passenger cars and locomotive repairs on the division.

Q. You came up in that branch, I suppose – came up in the shops? Answer – I was an apprentice in that department>

Q. And went right through the shops? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. You have never been in the roadway department? Answer – I have never been in the roadway department, but my duties have thrown me continuously in connection with road trouble.

Q. Just like any other railroad man who rides over the road and knows it when he see it? Just like any other railroad man who has to go over trouble and investigate it?

Q. But when the C&O Railroad wants to get the track straightened up, they do not send for you to look after it? Answer – No, sir.

Q. You spoke of a choppy track; do you know, in riding over the C&O Railway, whether you have choppy track or not railroad?

Mr. Browning: We object.

The Court: I sustain it unless you want to know what a choppy track is.

Mr. Hall: We want to find whether, by traveling over the C&O he knows what a choppy track is

The Court: I will let it in for that purpose alone.

Mr. Hall: Q. Have you ever ridden over a choppy track on the C&O?

Mr. Browning: Your Honor understands we except.

The Court: I over-rule it, and you can except. It is to test his knowledge of the condition of the

track.


Answer – Yes, sir, I have ridden over a choppy track on the C&O, but I do not recall that I have

ridden over any and subsequently inspected it that looked as bad as this.



By Mr. Hall:

Q. Have you ridden over choppy tracks other than the C&O. Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. From your experience gained in that way, can you say whether or not the condition of choppy track is usual or unusual? Answer – I think to a limited extent it is usual, but not to any such extreme as referred to, right along by the station grounds at Bristow and a short distance west.

Q. Did you ride over the track at Bristow after you examined it? Answer – I did not.

Q. You don’t know whether it was choppy from riding over it, or not? Answer – No, I don’t know whether it was choppy from riding over it.

Q. How do ou usually determine a choppy track? Answer – By the fact you have the equipment to go up and down.

Q. How do you find it except by riding over it? Answer – You can find it by inspection as well as by riding.

Q. You can look at a piece of rail and tell whether a one hundred ton car would press it down? You look at a piece of rail, and you say whether a one hundred ton car will press it down, or not. Answer – No, but I can look at it and say whether or not it has already been pressed down and left there so it will be in a choppy condition.

Q. You were asked what would be the effect on any train or equipment of a choppy track, and you said it would create an unsafe load, temporarily increasing the strain on the arch-bars, etc. If your tie-bars on your extra train 592 were all in good condition, and there were 21 cars in that train, and they all ran over this piece of track at Bristow which you describe as choppy, how does it happen that there did not but one tie-bar break? Answer – I am unable to answer that question.

Q. What do you think is the reason why they did not break? Answer – I am unable to tell you.

Q. If that tie-bar that did break had not already been weakened from some cause or other, is it likely that it would have broken, and no other tie-bars would have broken on the train? Answer – I will answer you if I may be permitted by saying---

Q. Just answer the question directly, and then explain it.



Mr. Browning: Frequently a witness cannot answer a question by “Yes” or “No”.

Witness: Will you read the question? (The question is read) Answer – I think it is just as likely

that it would have broken from excessive shocks received at this particular point as anywhere else, and it is just as reasonable that the breaks should be started there as anywhere else.



Mr. Hall: I submit that is not a answer to the question.

The Court: If that is the best he can do, I can’t make him do any better.

Mr. Hall: I asked him how it was if that tie-bar on that car had not been weakened through some

cause or other, that particular tie-bar happened to break when it went over this rough spot, and no other tie-bar in that entire train of 21 cars broke.




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