Spokane 100 years ago: manslaughter trial of teenage boy who hit pedestrians leads to finger pointing

A key question was re-debated in court: Which teenager drove the car that killed pedestrian AD Allison on Apple Way?

This time, Ray English was charged with manslaughter despite Roger Bartelt’s six months’ service in the Monroe Reformatory on the same charge.

This new process came after two teenagers in the car changed their stories, claiming that English, not Bartelt, had driven the car.

English’s defense attorney tried to get one of the girls, Violet Comstock, to admit that she was paid by the Bartelt family to change her story.

She denied this, saying she and her friend Irma Hauberg didn’t change their story until it became clear that the Bartelt family was being sued by the Allison family. At that point, she said, they decided to stay clean and admit that English was the driver.

Bartelt and English also commented. Bartelt was asked why he accepted the rape for the accident.

“Because I took my father’s car without permission and thought I might as well take all the blame,” he said. “… I thought I might as well take all the blame and leave English free.”

But he said English doesn’t show much gratitude. English visited him shortly before Bartelt was sent to Monroe. Bartelt said English had ominously told him: “Dead men don’t tell stories.”

English denied ever saying so and also denied driving the car when the accident occurred. He said he didn’t take the wheel until after the accident because “Bartelt was so nervous and excited”.

From the prohibition beat: The newly appointed prohibition director of the US state Washington promised to go tough.

“The liquor runner, the smuggler and the creeping dissolute and wrongdoer of our dry laws will not get a quarter,” he said during a visit to Spokane.

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