Riverhead 1909, Bates Death & Mystery

The attached articles concern an auto race that occurred on Long Island little more than a month prior to the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Race, the more established classic that took place in the same general vicinity.
The Indianapolis Star article (StockCars091509) was the product of advance promotion. In this article, we learn that the event was called, "The Long Island Stock Car Automobile Derby," and had five classes of cars. Promoters called the circuit, "The Riverhead-Mattituck" course. A group of men prominent in the motor industry toured the course and pronounced it in excellent condition, fast with expectations of seeing speeds north of 60 mph. The classes of cars were determined by their retail price in showrooms, the most inexpensive starting at $831.
The course is described as consisting of three long straightaways of 9.5, 8.5, and 4.5 miles. The grandstand and starting point was at Roanoke Avenue, 2.5 miles north of Riverhead. The first turn was 2.5 miles from the starting line with a left turn onto Riverhead's main street. Three sharp turns are described, an "S" turn, a 90-degree turn at Centerville, and the hairpin at Mattituck, which would produce the event's fatal accident.
Attachment DisbrowNews092409 contains another advance promotion article. This focuses on speed attained by Louis Disbrow in 20.2 seconds. Here the course is reported to be 22.75 miles. 
Attachment LongIsland093009 provides coverage of the race. The September 29, 1909, main event was won by Louis Chevrolet in a Buick with a class win by Ralph DePalma in a Fiat. Chevrolet's car was in the $1,250 to $2,500 price class. He reportedly averaged over 70 mph in 1:37:36.3, amazing speed for the age. Chevrolet's teammate Bob Burman was second with a time of 1:46:02.5 for a speed of about 64 mph. De Palma, in a 227.5-mile competition for the $4,000 class covered the distance in 3:38:35 at 62.5 mph. Arthur See (Maxwell) averaged 54 mph to cover 91.5 miles in 1:41:22 in the smallest, lowest price car. Frank Lescault won the $3,000 to $4,000 class in a Palmer-Singer. His speed average was 61 mph in a time of 3:38:35.
The event was marred by an accident involving veteran driver Herb Lytle and his riding mechanic James Bates. The two had survived a violent accident at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during that facility's inaugural auto races the previous month. Their accident on Long Island happened on the first lap of the contest when Lytle got a wheel off the course and into a sandy spot on the shoulder. Apparently, this effectively grabbed the wheel and flipped it. Lytle was hurled some distance, but this report indicates Bates clung to the car and it overturned on him, crushing his body. Lytle was seriously hurt and doctors feared for his life, but he awoke and became increasingly stable. Bates' name is in question. He is referenced in various articles as "Joe," "Jim," and "James." His last name is presented differently in different sources as well, as both "Bates" and "Bitts." The truth is still a question - but I am betting on Bates.
As for Lytle, he suffered a serious concussion which produced speculation that he would require trepan surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. Given the state of medical technology in 1909 it was fortunate for Lytle that the operation proved unnecessary.  
Two articles from the Indianapolis Sun also help paint the picture of this event. One,  attachment (RiverheadSun082909i), is a race morning report and mentions the quality of the drivers in the race consistent with those above. The other is meatier (RiverheadSun082909) and describes the Lytle-Bates accident and not much else. Interestingly, Lytle is reported as, "suffering fatal injuries." This was common in the press at the time. Suffering fatal injuries did not typically mean the person had died. It meant that the injuries they suffered were deemed to be so serious they would eventually succumb to them. Hard to imagine today but this is another example of the importance of understanding historical context. Lytle lived another 23 years to pass in 1932.
An article in the Indianapolis News that is found in attachment LytleNews092909 also covers the race. Predictably, the headline and focus concern the fatal accident. Their Apperson rammed a telegraph pole on a turn two miles west of Mattituck on Long Island. The course, like the Vanderbilt Cup, was laid out over Suffolk County public roads. It was 22 miles long.
A sidebar in the attachment provides more background on Bates. He was a resident of Kokomo, Indiana, which makes sense because that was the headquarters city of Apperson. He was 27 years old, married and had one child. Bates and Lytle had been working together for two years. This sidebar notes that Lytle had been in several accidents but his closest call with premature death was a bout with Typhoid Fever.
The race report here is confusing. Apparently, there were several classes. Chevrolet won a 113-mile contest, covering the distance in his Buick at 97 minutes, 36.3 seconds. Apparently, Ralph De Palma won in a different class for a race of 227.5 miles. His time was 218 minutes, 35.6 seconds. Arthur See is reported to have won a race for small cars in a Maxwell. Other winners were W.H. Sharp, driving a Sharp-Arrow unopposed in Class 3 (cars selling between $2,001 and $3,000). He covered 136.5 miles in 129 minutes. Class 2 (cars selling at $3,001 to $4,000) saw Frank Lescault in a Palmer-Singer prevail over his only competitor, Hugh Hughes who drove an American.
This article reports that Mrs. D.W. Loft, the owner of a Mercedes that was one of 16 cars at the event, withdrew her entry the moment she learned of Bates' death. She reportedly announced she was through with auto racing.
An Indianapolis News article from about two weeks later (attachment LytleDeliriumNews101209) reports that Lytle had yet to recover from the accident. The October 12, 1909, article says Lytle was suffering from a mental disorder. Obviously, he was grappling with the lingering effects of a concussion with symptoms of dementia, referred to in the report as "delirium."
Lytle had no recollection of the Riverhead race or the death of Bates. Strangely, Lytle is depicting as reliving the race, even carrying on conversations with Bates. He reportedly shouted at opposing drivers.
Lytle's long-term memory was apparently intact. Recalling plans to race at Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, he became eager to work on his car.
The next article (attachment Lytle) is from the October 6, 1909, Brooklyn Daily Eagle. This article also shares some details of Lytle's struggles with dementia. This corroborates much of the details in the Indianapolis News article concerning Lytle's mental state at the time. Here we learn he was under medical care at Greenport Hospital and while physically growing stronger, his brain function was still impaired. He was being treated by a Dr. Stevens.
The Apperson Company was covering his bills. The article reports speculation that he would be transferred to another facility better equipped to deal with his condition. This is more than reasonable as apparently, Lytle was determined to "escape" the hospital. The previous day he had dressed himself, grabbed his infant son and marched out of the room. We can only guess his wife and child had been visiting him.
Apparently, he had another visitor - a gentleman by the name of Ambrose D. Corwin, who apparently intervened and somehow convinced Lytle to return to his room. With his son back in the mother's arms, Lytle removed his shoes and coat (but not his street clothes) and got back in bed.
Corwin chatted with Lytle to determine his mental state. They discussed the fateful race during which he was injured - and his riding mechanic, Bates, was killed. While Lytle remembered some details, he reported a complete distortion by saying that during the race he had stopped and turned the steering wheel over to Bates. Lytle than filed the accusation that Bates deliberately wrecked the car in an attempt to hurt him and then ran away. Bates, as we know from all reports was fatally injured.
Lytle was determined to resume his racing career and expressed both his intentions and fitness. He is quoted in the article concerning participation in the Vanderbilt Cup.
"I must leave in two days, though, for I must begin practice for the Vanderbilt Cup. I expect to win that. Besides, I have three or four other races on within the next week."
He also made the bizzare pronouncement that he owned a hospital.
Other mentions of Bates (or Bitts) on First Super Speedway appear at links below:

StockCars091509.pdf361.72 KB
DisbrowNews092409.pdf138.51 KB
LongIsland093009.pdf632.51 KB
RiverheadSun082909i.pdf2.48 MB
RiverheadSun092909.pdf3.22 MB
LytleNews092909.pdf842.08 KB
LytleDeliriumNews101209.pdf1.22 MB
Lytle.pdf1.3 MB