accidents

NEWS Past, 1922: Investigation after Fatal Wassergass Road Accident

Past, 1922: Investigation after Fatal Wassergass Road Accident
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NOTE: To view a clipping of the original news story quoted here, scroll down.

Christmas 1922 was undoubtedly a sad day for many Hellertown residents who were mourning the death of a borough man who was involved in an accident on Wassergass Road on 23 December.

on christmas eve, good morning call The accident reportedly claimed the life of Charles Strauss, a 35-year-old Heldun native who was hit by a truck as he was returning from get off work at the Bethlehem Steel Co. , about half a mile from his home.

Newspaper reports quoted witnesses as saying the driver of the truck – Charles Grimm of Ironville* – was “drunk” at the time of the accident. Subsequent investigations to determine the cause of the accident came to the same conclusion.

good morning call The report of December 23, 1922 stated the following:

“According to eyewitnesses, Grimm was driving under the influence of alcohol. He was accompanied by a young boy who ran away in fright and was later found and informed of the accident. Witnesses said Grimm was driving Behind Strauss, hitting him, and another machine coming from the opposite direction.”

Grim, an Ironville businessman, was reportedly detained by Hellertown Police Chief Charles Zimpfer at the scene of the accident pending a court hearing.

In addition to his widow, Strauss left five young children, whom newspaper articles identified as Louella, Edna, Viola, Orville, and Leo.

A photograph of Strauss as a child and his gravestone have emerged on FindAGrave.com, along with a photograph of his gravestone at Hellertown Union Cemetery, where he is buried.

Four of Strauss’ children are also buried at Union Cemetery, according to information on the website.

At the inquest, which took place shortly after Christmas, Morning Call reported that the jury ruled that “Charles Strauss died on Saturday afternoon, December 23, after being struck by a car driven by CB Grim while intoxicated.

The report, published on December 29, 1922, stated that Strauss’ cause of death had been determined at an autopsy to be a cerebral hemorrhage and that Grimm would hold a hearing “in the near future” on charges related to the fatal accident.

*Ironville was the original name of the village of Wassergass. According to the Wikipedia entry, the name was used until the 1890s, when it was changed to avoid confusion with the nearby Iron Mountain. The road and village were still spelled “Wassergas” at the time of the accident detailed in this record.

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