This Week in Colorado History: Car Accidents

Eighty-nine years ago this week, Golden received a lesson in the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol. “The Colorado Transcript” of September 28, 1922, reported on one vehicle and two men’s havoc-wreaking trip into Denver.
Twelve-year-old Lena Marinano suffered a fractured collarbone and internal injuries when she was crushed by an automobile under the control of John Elstron, who was “said to be under the influence of liquor.” Elstron sped down a hill towards a bridge, hit another vehicle, and “then cut diagonally across the road, striking the little girl.” Marinano was knocked into a ditch and the car rolled on top of her.

Elstron and his passenger Adolph Brusse took the car to a Golden mechanic where it was fixed. But even after their violent experience, Elstron and Brusse decided not to postpone their trip to Denver and the men departed a second time. This time, Brusse chose to drive. But this journey was just as disastrous as “The Colorado Transcript” reported that “Brusse lost control of the machine and it plunged off the embankment and overturned a second time.” Elstron was pinned under the car, fracturing his hip, before being pulled out by passers-by. Brusse was arrested and later plead guilty to reckless driving and driving while intoxicated. Elstron was also to face charges once released from the hospital.

Although alcohol may have been available this week in 1922, another, more important liquid was not. Water levels were then the lowest in Golden’s history due to minimal snowfall in the winter of 1921-1922 and no rain in the spring and summer of 1922. Water Commissioner Jones attested that Clear Creek had never been lower, that Beaver Brook and its watershed were running very low, and streams had dried up, many for the first time in living memory. Water Superintendent Curry urged citizens to “adopt strict conservation methods” in order to avoid having to use a pumping plant.

Also this week in 1922, Golden lost one of its pioneers. James Gorman died at the age of eighty-two in Fort Lupton, Colorado. “Gorman came here in the [eighteen] sixties and for some time drove a stag between this place and the mountain towns,” reported “The Colorado Transcript.” Gorman also owned a livery business in Golden.



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