Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Tragedy at East New York Street and Linwood Avenue--1946

A crowd gathered at the intersection of East New York Street and Linwood Avenue on May 1, 1946. It was a rainy and sadly a tragic day for Mrs. Luella Cummings, who dwelled at 423 North Linwood Avenue. The eighty-year old woman was attempting to walk across New York Street when she was struck and killed by Dexter Maitland of Los Angeles, California. Mr. Maitland was later charged with reckless driving, vagrancy, and failure to maintain his brakes.

The shops visible in the photograph were located at 4417 to 4427 East New York Street. The Tudor-Revival structure still stands in 2018. The accident had been on a Wednesday afternoon so it was likely that all of the businesses were open and perhaps hosting customers. Some of the shops operating that day included:  Ward's Radio Service, Elmo Douglas Photography, Janie Hughes Beauty Shop, G & S Gift Novelties, and Red Seal Cleaners. If you zoom in on the faces of the men, you will note that they have grave expressions. Were they customers in the shops? Business owners? Is one of the men Mr. Maitland? The Buick in the photograph belonged to him. One police officer is identified as Audry Jacobs.  Inspector Jacobs worked in the traffic division for the Indianapolis Police Department for years. At age 15, his father was killed by a drunken driver so he dedicated his life to various causes that could help with traffic safety including one-way streets, synchronized traffic signals, and "walk-wait" signals.

With School #58 located nearby, the police department likely had to work quickly to get the area cleared before the dismissal of the pupils.
4417 E. New York Street accident scene--1946 (image courtesy of Patrick Pearsey) 

Scene of the Tragedy: Luella Cummings of 423 N. Linwood Avenue was struck and killed as she walked across East New York Street on May 1, 1946.

Luella Cummings

The historic image is courtesy of Patrick Pearsey and Indy Long Ago Facebook page. Information for this article came from "Woman Pedestrian, 80, is Year's 25th City Traffic Victim," Indianapolis News, May 2, 1946; Obituary of Audry Jacobs, Indianapolis News, December 28, 1968, 11.