Monday, November 7, 2016

November 7, 1977 -- Tragedy Averted at Wells Street

November 7, 1977 – From the “Being in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time Department” – Ms. Raphan Boonying drives her car across the Wells Street bridge, heading north, and encounters a warning gate dropping down in front of her, prompting her to stop with the front wheels of the vehicle on the street and the rear wheels on the bridge.  The bridge then begins to rise.  “Suddenly I felt the rear of the car going down,” Boonying says.  “I thought, ‘I am going to die’ and I screamed.”  Officials describe what happens next.  The car begins to slide back toward the river as the bridge opens, but before the car falls into the brink the upper section of the bridge’s double-deck truss system catches it and crushes its rear section, pinching it between the bridge and the street.  The bridge-tender swears that he did not see any vehicle on the bridge when he began to raise it.  Trains of the Ravenswood and Howard lines, which run atop the structure, are delayed for two hours as the wrecked car and its shaken owner are removed.  The Tribune graphic, shown above, shows how close Ms. Boonying came to ending up in the river.

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