Indianapolis 500 Wreck - 1911

This shot captures the biggest single accident at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. The accident occurred around lap 90 and involved Harry Knight, Joe Jagersberger,  and Herb Lytle.
A steering rod broke on Jagersberger's Case racer on the front stretch in full view of the grandstand. Jagersberger skidded along the outside wall and was largely out of the way. What triggered the spectacular carnage that followed was the poor judgment of his riding mechanic, Charles Anderson, who decided to jump out of the car while it still carried speed. He promptly fell on the bricks and under the car's left rear wheel. Startled, Westcott driver Harry Knight swerved to avoid the man, lost control and skidded into Herb Lytle's Apperson, which was parked in his pit. Remember that at this time there was no wall separating the pits from the racing surface.
In this photo, we see the #7 car of Knight and the overturned #35 Apperson of Lytle. The other identifiable machine is the #18 Fiat of Eddie Hearne, which was also damaged but was able to continue. We can only assume he happened to make a pit stop at the time of the collision. This incident is blamed at least in part for the scoring confusion that also factored into controversy at the finish as inexperienced officials were distracted from tracking cars and drawn to the melee.

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