William J. (1904? - 1956)
Surnames: Beilke, Ratch, Bergemann, Christensen, Kutsche
----Source: Colby Phonograph (Colby, Clark County, Wis.) 08/23/1956
Beilke, William J. (1904? - 21 Aug. 1956)
William J. Beilke of Abbotsford, Wisconsin, age 52, livestock buyer for Christensen Sales Co., was fatally injured at 9:45 o’clock Tuesday night when the car in which he was the only occupant crashed into the second diesel unit of an 82-car freight train being hauled by three locomotives at Chicago, St. Paul and Ohama Railroad crossing about four miles west of Neillsville.
His death raised Clark county’s traffic fatalities to six for the year.
Beilke died about 15 minutes after being brought to the Memorial Hospital in Neillsville in an ambulance. His head had been crushed and he suffered cuts and bruises about his body. Part of his clothing, including both shoes, were found in the wreckage.
Trainmen notified authorities of the accident from a telephone in the nearby home of Robert Ratch.
Beilke’s body was found about 20 feet from the wrecked car which was carried westward from the crossing about 150 feet. Parts of the wreckage were strewn 400 feet along the railroad right-of-way. The impact scraped and bent the side of the diesel engine.
John Bergemann, Clark county coroner, said there would be no inquest.
Beilke’s body was taken to a funeral home at Woodstock, Ill., Wednesday, where funeral services and burial will take place. He was unmarried.
Known survivors are three brothers, Frank and Everett of Woodstock and Carl of Union Grove, Ill.
The only warning is the conventional cross-arm railroad sign and visibility along the track is said to be largely obscured by embandments at the crossing approaches.
Authorities were attempting to learn the whereabouts of two men from Illinois who had accompanied Mr. Beilke from Abbotsford Tuesday afternoon. The search for them was touched off when the fatality was reported by law enforcement officials to Mrs. Harold Christensen in Abbotsford, Wis. In going through the debris left by the wreck they found three hats. That, added to the word from Mrs. Christensen, gave rise to concern for the other two men.
They combed the ditches and brush for several hundred yards along the railroad track but did not find evidence of any others having been with Beilke. Although they had not been able to trace the livestock buyer’s movements that afternoon and evening, Sheriff Ray Kutsche said he believed that the Illinois men had left Mr. Beilke earlier.
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