Bruce Keene & Wrecked Marmon

This photo was part of the coverage of the tragic first auto racing event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The image is of the wrecked Marmon no. 17 racer of driver Bruce Keene that first appeared in the August 22, 1909, Indianapolis Star. Riding mechanic James Schiller rode with Keene. The accident occurred during the final contest of the entire meet, the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy race. While both men survived Schiller was thrown from the car to incur a scalp wound and what might have been a concussion.
These races were controversial due to the devastating fatal accidents on the first and third days of the meet. In all, five men were killed:

The single most destructive race was the final event of the entire three days, the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy which was scheduled for 300 miles but was called off at 235 miles with Jackson Automobile Company driver Leigh Lynch in the lead. The big accident of the day occurred when the National Motor Vehicle Company racer driven by Charlie Merz blew a tire, crashed through the fencing lining the course and catapulted into the crowd. Riding Mechanic Kellum lost his life as did spectators West and Jolliff.
The Keene-Schiller incident occurred some 30 minutes after the calamitous Merz wreck. The image demonstrates that Keene hit one of support pillars (abutments) of the pedestrian suspension bridge This was approximately the spot where Bourque and Holcomb had their fatal accident on Thursday, the first day of the meet.

KeeneMarmon.jpg1.88 MB