Charles H. Wilcox and Elizabeth Waterhouse perish in automobile accident, 1920.


Car Skids and Goes Over 150 Foot Precipice—Wife and Child Narrowly Escape With Their Lives.

The Wilcox party had been spending the day, Sunday, June 20, at Kokee, at the C. H. Wilcox place, and left for home early in the afternoon. They were in three cars—the Misses Wilcox in advance, the C. H. Wilcox family next, and the Crawfords and Mrs. P. L. Rice, last.

The road was in good condition and the day beautifully clear and fine, and everything went well until the middle got down to the place where the road narrowly skirts the edge of a gulch to the left, about two miles above the cane limit. Here there had been a slight kewai shower a few minutes before,—very local and of such short duration that the first car escaped it altogether. It was just enough to make the fine, light soil “greasy.” The road skirts the edge of the pali so close for a few yards that there is no avoiding it, and just at this point unfortunately there is a little hummock in the road which the car would strike at a pretty good job coming down the heavy grade. Striking this probably deflected the car which taken with the skiddy condition threw it so far around that it went over the bank. As it went over side-wise rather than end wise those sitting on the upper side, Mrs. Wilcox, Lois, and Jack Bottomley were thrown, or perhaps jumped clear of the car, while Mr. Wilcox and Elizabeth Waterhouse remained in till the next bound when they were slung out so forcibly that they were killed when they struck, and the former was then pinioned by the car when it came to rest, well down the slope.

This is mainly surmise as to what happened and how. The only thing that any one seems to know is that Mr. Wilcox, as he felt the car going cried to Jack Bottomley—”Jump Jack!”

The car went down some 200 or 250 feet,—a perpendicular drop of  perhaps 150 feet to where it now stands, headed mauka instead of makai.

The outcome of the momentary tragedy was that C. H. Wilcox and Elizabeth Waterhouse were lying mangled and dead—the former pinioned under the rear of the car,—and that Mrs. Wilcox was badly bruised and with a dislocated left arm, and little Lois, her daughter, with a broken collar bone.

Jack Bottomley escaped with a few scratches and bruises. With the exception of the latter, they were, of course, in a helpless condition.

The third car, containing Mr. and Mrs. Crawford and Mrs. P. L. Rice, arrived at the scene some 15 or 20 minutes later, and venturing very cautiously over the skiddy road, came to their assistance. Mr. and Mrs. Crawford scrambled down the bank to give what first aid was possible, while Mrs. Philip Rice went on down to Kekaha to secure medical aid. This she did as hurriedly as possible, yet cautiously too, as the road was still slippery.

She found the near-by Waiawa region almost deserted, every one had gone to a tennis meet at Mana, so that she could get little assistance here and had to go on to Kekaha mill where she got into telephone communication with Drs. Tuttle, Dunn, and Waterhouse, who hurried to the scene as quickly as possible. She also secured the assistance of the local police force. Eric Knudsen, and others, all of whom rendered instant and invaluable service, especially Mr. Knudsen who was easily master of the situation.

In the meantime Mr. Crawford and Jack Bottomly had extricated the lifeless body of Mr. Wilcox from beneath the car, and with Mrs. Crawford had given what relief they could to the suffering mother and little daughter.

When the doctors arrived they made what partial examination they could and decided to transfer Mrs. Wilcox and Lois to Makaweli Hospital for X Ray examination, and despatch the bodies of the dead to Lihue. By this time there was plenty of help, so that this could be readily done. Later in the evening Mrs. Wilcox and Lois were brought to Lihue in the care of Dr. Waterhouse.

Rush wireless messages were sent to relatives and friends in Honolulu and at the Coast.

[The use of Kewai rain in an English newspaper article is interesting. It seems it was not that uncommon. What about today, 100 years later?]

(Garden Island, 6/22/1920, p. 1)


The Garden Island, Volume 16, Number 25, Page 1. June 22, 1920.


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