Lured to Death

This article is about Homer Jolliff, one of the two spectators killed in the fatal accident of the final day of racing during the first auto meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was originally published in the August 22, 1909 Indianapolis Star. These races were conducted on Saturday, August 21, 1909.
Jolliff, 28, was the first of the three fatalities from the Speedway's devestating accident that was officially identified to the satisfaction of Indianapolis Coroner Blackwell. The others were spectator James West and riding mechanic Claude Kellum. The article, titled "Lured to Death," reports that Jolliff attended the races with his boss, a farmer named Lora Vandiver (a man).
The two agreed to leave the track during the final race, the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy. They turned to depart and at the last moment Jolliff announced, "I guess I'll turn back a minute and see this car go by." It was literally a fatal mistake as that car was the National Motor Vehicle Company entry of Charlie Merz who lost control, crashed through the fence bordering the track and struck Jolliff among others. Jolliff was killed immediately.
The owner of the ambulance that carried Jolliff to the hospital was A.M. Ragsdale a former classmate of Joseph Jolliff, the father of the victim. Another spectator, identified as a Mr. Tapking, was injured with a broken nose and lacerations to his right hand and arm. He was treated. Mechanic Kellum arrived at the hospital still alive but passed shortly. He was married and had two young sons. Kellum and West had arrived at the morgue through a Flanner & Buchanan vehicle.
Others at the hosptial were Marmon men Bruce Keene (driver) and riding mechanic James Schiller. Keene (his name is spelled both "Keen" and "Keene" in different articles of the Star) was not injured but Schiller had a scalp wound and a possible concussion. Schiller lived at 703 East Eleventh Street and Keene's residence was at 948 North Illinois - both in Indianapolis.
The attachment below contains two articles. One covers the information above the other, titled, "Crowds Throng Morgue," discusses the morbid curiosity of dozens of men, women and children who descended on the City Morgue to gawk at the lifeless bodies of the three victims. Each body was lying on a slab in a relatively small room and the visitors cycled around them. A police lieutenent by the last name of Belch detailed several officers to maintain order.
While mechanic Kellum had been identified at the Speedway that information was not relayed to the police or coroner in the morgue. Kellum was finally recognized by a man who had been a friend. The article reports that the corpse of Gotlieb Knittel, a fourth man who had committed suicide, had been removed to make room for the Speedway victims.

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