Detroit’s First-Ever Fatal Car Accident Happened 120 Yrs Ago Today
It's hard to imagine a time when every road in Michigan was nothing more than dirt or brick. A time when people were traveling only by horse-drawn carriage or the world's first automobiles.
The year was 1902 when Detroit witnessed its first fatal automobile accident. It was an accident involving a horse-drawn carriage and an automobile.
According to Find a Grave, on September 2, 1902, at about 9:00 am, 81-year-old Detroit businessman George W. Bissell was guiding his horse-drawn carriage down Brooklyn Avenue when an automobile “scorched” by. This freaked his horse out and it jumped which caused one of the wheels to fall off the carriage. Bissel went flying forward into the air and ultimately slammed his head on the brick pavement. He was pronounced dead of a fractured skull.
Technically it was a horse-drawn carriage accident but it was caused by an automobile.
This incident definitely wasn't the first automobile accident. The first-ever car accident in the country was in Ohio in 1891. It was the first single-cylinder gasoline automobile, which was carrying a couple of guys, they hit a tree root, causing the car to careen out of control and smash into a hitching post. Think about that, a tree root caused a car accident.
The country finally saw its first-ever paved road in 1909 which just so happened to be Woodward Ave in Detroit. Specifically, a mile of Woodward from Six Mile Road to Seven Mile Road.
There's your little history lesson for the day.