Mexborough Times, May 10th, 1919
Fatal Street Accident
Denaby Schoolboy killed
Coroner´s advice to Schoolteachers
On Wednesday afternoon last, Albert Herdus (eight), son of Mr John Herdus, of 6 Cusworth Street, Denaby, was run over by a motor lorry belonging to Hanley and Son, millers, Doncaster. He was taken to the Fullerton hospital, found to have sustained a compound fracture of the thigh, and died the same night, after amputation.
The inquest was held on Friday by Mr Frank Allen
James White, 11 Montague Street, Doncaster, who was driving the lorry at the time of the accident, said he was travelling about 6 miles an hour. As he was passing the Station Road school a lot of children ran after his lorry. He had to keep shouting at the top of his voice and continually sounding his horn. He noticed a group of boys playing on a heap of stones near the station. As he approached he shouted to them to stay where they were. The next thing he noticed was a slight jerk of the lorry, and saw the deceased lying on the road.It looked as if the rearwheel had passed over him. The child was very badly injured, and witness immediately sent for the police and the parents.
By the coroner: It is a very common occurrence for children to run after and in front of these lorries.
Witness added that on this occasion he had had to steer all over the road to avoid knocking them down; they were just “like a flock of sheep.”
Mr Herdus asked witness if he was driving on the proper side of the road
Witness: I had to turn from the left side to the centre to avoid knocking some of the children over.
Inspector Bellamy pointed out that there was no necessity for a driver to remain on the left side unless there was some other vehicle on the road.
P Bradley, 39, Church Street, Conisboro´ did not see the accident, but heard the driver shouting to the children. The lorry pulled up within about 15 yards after the accident.
Sam Falkiner (13), a schoolboy, said he saw the lorry coming down the road. There were a number of boys hanging on behind it, and some were trying to get on top. He was stood near the deceased, and his brother Arthur, aged 11, and he heard the latter say, “have we to get on the lorry?” deceased replied, “If we can, but don´t get run over.” Arthur ran to the lorry and tried to mount it. Deceased, try to get on to it from the side, but missed his hold and fell under the wheel. Witness said he heard the driver shouting and blowing his horn, and also bore out his statement that he was steering first one side and then to the other in trying to avoid the children.
Mr Herdus asserted that the boy Falkiner was nowhere near the scene of the accident, and that he had come there and told that story. “Because he thought he would get 10 shillings for it.”
White said Falkiner was as near as anybody to the lorry, and he was the first boy he spoke to after the accident.
Arthur Herdus contradicted Falkiner´s story. Neither witness nor his brother attempted to get onto the lorry. They saw the lorry approaching. Albert ran into the middle of the road, and turned back, and he was knocked down and run over.
PC Raper said Falkiner was the first boy he saw when he arrived on the scene, and he then made the same stament that he made at the inquest.
Mr Herdus said he had been told that the lorry was travelling at a high speed.
Inspector Bellamy: there were no complaints made to the police about it.
The coroner found a verdict of “accidental death,” and exonerated the driver from all blame. It was a common occurrence for children to run in front of moving vehicles, and they could not help but appreciate the difficulties drivers experience in the thickly populated districts. It was apparent that there was no cause for the deceased to leave the side of the road where he was in perfect safety unless it was that he was running in front of the vehicle, as boys would, for no ascertainable reason what ever
He thought it was the duty of teachers in schools to impress upon children the grave danger. They ran in trying to climb on and run in front of lorries. He knew from experience that it was a constant practice for children to run about and try to get on to motor vehicles and that the greatest difficulty in travelling at any reasonable speed was the danger of knocking someone down.