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Story: Awful Death Under Wheels

[Cheboygan News, July 24, 1909]

Dester Duffina Killed at Seymour Street Crossing.
Skull Crushed and Otherwise Badly Mangled By Michigan Central Train Saturday Evening - No Blame Attached to Engineer Frank Ayers.

Dexter Duffina, 11-year-old son of Jeffery Duffina, of Gerow street, met a tragic death at the Seymour street crossing of the Michigan Central railroad last Saturday evening. The boy in company with another lad had gone to the canning factory with Fred Megget, who had a load of peas to unload. Will Megget was unloading the boys were amusing themselves and Duffina's companion ran across the track ahead of the incoming "cannon ball" from the south. 

Duffina, who was deaf and dumb, followed his companion and the pilot of the engine struck him throwing him clear of the track. The death must have been instantaneous as his skull was crushed and he was otherwise badly mangled.  It was engine number 8200 in charge of engineer Frank Ayers and Fireman Frank Flyne. As is customary, steam was shut off south of Lincoln avenue crossing, thus the train was under full control of the engineer, but the boy started across the track just as the train reached the crossing.

The train was stopped just before Court street and the mangled remains were carried to the passenger depot. Sheriff Clute and Coroner Read were immediately summoned and a jury empaneled to enquire into the case. They adjourned until today, in order to receive the evidence of Engineer Ayers and Fireman Flyne who arrived this morning. The funeral of young Duffina took place Monday.  His father was working in the woods down the shore and last Saturday morning he said something told him to return home as there was some impending danger. It made such an impression on him that he immediately started for home, arriving here just after the accident occurred.

[Contributed to RRHX by Kay Kotarski]