Death of Henry Hale Bliss

Death of Henry Hale Bliss


The death of Henry Hale Bliss was the first recorded person to be killed in a motor vehicle collision in America.


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On September 13, 1899, Henry Hale Bliss, a 69 year old local real estate dealer accompanied by a passenger named "Lee" was knocked from a streetcar at West 74th Street and Central Park West in New York City, as he was alighting from a south bound 8th Avenue trolley car, when an electric-powered taxicab (Automobile No. 43) struck him and he hit the pavement and crushed his head and chest. He was taken by ambulance to Roosevelt Hospital, but upon arrival the house surgeon, Dr. Marny said his injuries were too severe to survive and Bliss died from his sustained injuries the next morning.

Arthur Smith, the driver of the taxicab, claimed that a large truck occupied the right side of the avenue, making it necessary to drive his vehicle closer to the car, however he was arrested and charged with manslaughter but was subsequently acquitted on the grounds that he had no malice, nor was he negligent.

The passenger of the taxi-cab, Dr. David Orr Edson, was the son of former New York City mayor Franklin Edson.


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