Bio: Mularkey, Gladwyn (Convicted of Manslaughter – Dec 1918)

Contact: Ann Stevens

Surnames: Mularkey, Mathews, Rush, Crosby, Kurth, Housely, Thoma, Stockwell, Paulson, Root, Warlum, La Reau, Petznick, Rausch, Wren, Swartling, Ghent, Moganson, Campman, Holtz, Gluch, Howard, Dehnert, Lapp, Brown, Toptine, Ure, Widman, Blecha, Olson, Polensik, Neinas, Quicker, Hoey Wood

----Source: Neillsville Times (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 12/12/1918

Mularkey, Gladwyn (Convicted of Manslaughter – 9 Dec 1918)

The trial of Gladwyn Mularkey, charged with manslaughter, has been the center of attraction in circuit court since last Thursday. Mularkey is on trial for the killing of Dan Mathews, when the car which Mularkey was driving struck Mathews on the Ridge Road on the evening of Oct. 8, 1918. Mathews was so badly injured that he died shortly after the accident and Mularkey was on trial last week on a charge of manslaughter.

The trial has attracted a great amount of attention and the court room has been filled with interested spectators during every session. District Attorney Rush handled the State’s side of the case, while E.W. Crosby defended Mularkey. The State had a considerable number of witnesses and the burden of the testimony offered by the State was to the effect that Mularkey was driving the car at such a high rate of speed that he was unable to control it and that this unlawful and careless driving was the cause of the death of Dan Mathews.

Wm. Kurth was the first witness for the State, he having been attracted to the scene of the accident shortly after it occurred. He testified as to the condition of the road, the width and other details which concerned the ability of the car to be driven past the wagon driven by Mathews. He also testified that the accident occurred about 9 o’clock that evening.

Dr. Housely, physician from Granton, testified to being called to attend Mathews and that he had started for Granton with the injured man and that he had died on the way to Granton.
W.C. Thoma, county superintendent of roads, was the next witness for the State, his testimony bearing upon the width of the road at that point, its structure, etc.

C.S. Stockwell was one of the principal witnesses for the State. He is a civil engineer and made measurements of the scene of the accident, submitting three maps. Mr. Stockwell showed that at this point of the road, an approaching car could first see the wagons and teams in the road 1800 feet away and that a slight depression in the road then hid the wagon until the car would be about 850 feet away. That had the car driven by Mularkey been going at a reasonable rate of speed, it could have been brought under control in plenty of time to stop until the road was cleared for the approaching car. Mr. Stockwell’s testimony throughout indicated that the automobile was being driven at an unlawful rate of speed.

Ross Paulson, owner of the team and wagon driven by Mathews, testified that the wagon was in good shape, sound and strong, and that it was at the time hauling 80 bushels of grain to Granton. That the wagon had been badly smashed by the auto, the rear hind wheel broken, the tire bent, the rack broken and the king bolt bent, all of which was to show that the car struck the wagon while going at a very high rate of speed.

H.M. Root, the owner of the car, was a witness to identify the ownership of the car.

P.M. Warlum was also an important witness for the State. He had gone to the scene of the accident soon after the accident occurred. On his way out he had picked up Gladwyn Mularkey and Armond La Reau, taken them back to the scene of the accident with him and then brought them to Neillsville and placed them in jail. His testimony was such as would indicate also that the auto was driven at a very high rate of speed, and also pertained to the condition and position of the wagon in the road and that the tracks made by the car after it had struck the wagon and then run off the side of the road into the plowed field on the south side of the road.

Robert Petznick, cheese maker who lives at Kurth’s Corners, was a witness to establish the time of the accident and also to the fact that Mularkey came to his house and phoned to Granton for a doctor for Mathews.

Wallace Rausch was with Mathews on the night of the accident, driving one of the teams hauling grain and his team being in front of that driven by Mathews. The two were on their way from Shortville to Granton with two loads of grain. Rausch had seen the lights of the approaching car and had called to Mathews that a car was coming. Mathews had gone around to the heads of his team with the intention of holding them until the car had gone by. Rausch was the first to reach Mathews after he had been struck and picked up by the car and carried along on the front fender of the car.

Richard Kurth was a witness for the State in establishing the time of the accident.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wren had been at Neillsville on the evening the accident occurred. He was driving east from town when the Root car, driven by Mularkey, passed him on the old Youmans farm on the Ridge Road. Both Mr. and Mrs. Wren testified that they were driving at about 25 miles an hour and that Mularkey drove past them at a very much higher rate of speed.

T.E. Swartling was coming into Neillsville that evening and met the Root car going east near the H.O. Huckstead farm. Mr. Swartling’s testimony was to the effect that the Root car was being driven faster than 25 miles an hour when it went by him.
Hilda Petznik was a witness for the State to establish that the time of the accident was about 9 o’clock, for she had gone to bed at 8:30 and had been in bed for a short time when she heard the approaching car for about a mile away. She had gone back to bed and shortly after heard the smash of the accident.

Henry Ghent, Pete Paulson and E.E. Moganson were witnesses for the State to show the damage to the car and the manner in which it had been smashed up.

Mrs. Robt. Petznick stated that the accident occurred between 8:40 and 9 o’clock in the evening.

W.A. Campman, who conducted the coroners’ inquest, stated that Mularkey had admitted to being the driver of the car at the inquest.

The State rested with this evidence and the defense then brought up its witnesses.

Gladwyn Mularkey, the defendant, was the first witness. He testified that he was 19 years of age and came here from Oxford in July to work for his brother, A.R. Mularkey. That he was preparing to go to Chicago to enlist in the army motor corps the following week and had met Armond La Reau on the streets of Neillsville on the evening of Oct. 8th. The two boys had met Miss Lillian Holtz and Miss Emma Gluch and asked them to go with them for a ride. Miss Gluch telephoned and received permission from her mother to take the ride and the four had taken the Root car from the Mularkey garage and started east on the Ridge Road. The defendant testified that the brakes on the Root car did not work properly and that it could not be stopped in the time that a car is ordinarily stopped. That he was driving the car and Miss Holtz was in the front seat with him. That fog and haze had gathered on the windshield and that he had wiped the fog off three times. That he was spot light and was therefore unable to see the road clearly on account of the haze. When approaching the Kurth’s Corners he had seen a team standing in the middle of the road and had immediately applied the foot brakes and slowed down to about 15 miles per hour. As he approached the wagon the north side of the road or legal side for passing a team looked as though there was a deep hole and pile of stone on that side of the road and as the team was standing still, he had used his best judgment and tried to pass the team on the right side (the wrong side for passing a vehicle.) As he started to pass the team Mathews stepped out in front of his team and that he then applied the emergency brake, but that it would not hold, with the result that he turned the car into the ditch. As he went by, his car struck Mathews. Mularkey then drove the car into the field at the south side of the road, stopped it and then started the car up again twice to try and get it back into the road. He also got out of the car, went back and when he found that Mathew had been hurt, he went to the nearest telephone and called for a doctor. He admitted that he had previously driven about 20 to 25 miles an hour, but that when the accident occurred, the car was not going faster than 15 miles an hour. He claims that when he put on all the brakes on the car that it slewed to the north and that the rear of the car had struck the wagon. The damage to the car would tend to show that the rear of the car did come in contact with the read end of the wagon for the front of the car was not badly smashed.

Miss Lillian Holtz and Miss Emma Gluch testified to substantially the same as Mularkey regarding their part in the accident. They had gone riding with the boys, leaving Neillsville at 8 o’clock in the evening.

Armond La Reau was with Mularkey in the car, being in the rear seat with Miss Gluch. He had helped young Rausch in trying to carry the body of Mathews into the road to await the arrival of the doctor.

Mrs. L.H. Howard, having often driven the Root car, was a witness for the defense to show that the brakes did not hold well.

L.H. Howard gave testimony for the defense, he being very familiar with the Root car. He too testified that the brakes on the car were not sufficiently strong to hold a car of this size and that this style of brake had been discontinued. That in order to stop the car at a given spot, the driver would have to slow down 500 to 600 feet away.

Will Dehnert testified to substantially the same as Howard, that the brakes were defective.

A.R. Mularkey testified as to the condition of the car, the defective brakes and the damage done to the car by the accident.

The case went to the jury Monday afternoon. The jury was composed of Jacob Lapp, E. Brown, Newton Toptine, Ray Ure, Rich. Widman, Frank Blecha, John Olson, Paul Polensik, Ernest Neinas, James Quicker, E.J. Hoey and Earl Wood.

The prosecution built its case upon the fact that Mularkey had been exceeding the lawful rate of speed and was driving carelessly and without due caution and that in striking Mathews he was directly responsible for the latter’s death and should be convicted of manslaughter.

The defense built its case about the defective condition of the car and attempted to show that Mularkey was exercising due care and caution and that in trying to pass the team on the wrong side of the road, he had exercised his best judgment and care in selecting the side of the road which indicates the least dangerous side to pass on.

The defense also showed that as the accident occurred after 8:30 and the party had left Neillsville at 8 o’clock, they need not have driven fast in order to traverse the five miles in 30 minutes.

The case went to the jury at 5 o’clock Monday afternoon and at 7:00 that evening, the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter in the fourth degree.

The case was a very interesting one and was closely agreed and contested by both sides.



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