At 11:30 p.m. October 19, 1922, a Wabash passenger train left the track at the curve two miles west of Williamsport at Schlosser woods. The engine and tender, two mail cars, four express and baggage cars plunged down a 15-foot embankment. Two other coaches left the track but did not go down the embankment. A dining car and two Pullmans stayed on the track. The conductor, who was in one of the rear coaches, walked to Williamsport to raise the alarm.
The engineer was killed and discovered buried beneath the wreckage of the engine. The mail clerk died on the way to the hospital. A baggage man was found in a pile of burning debris several hours later and was burned beyond recognition. None of the passengers were seriously hurt, but most were suffering from shock.
Upon inspection, evidence pointed to foul play. Bolts that held the angle irons to the rails had been removed and laid on the end of the tie on which the rail rested. The threads on the bolts were not damaged nor were there any scratches on the nuts to indicate they had been force apart. Spikes had been pulled from the inside of the right hand rail for quite a distance and the end of the rail had been sprung towards the inside of the track. The following week it was reported the sheriff and railroad detectives were of the unanimous opinion the accident was caused by wreckers. A $1,000 reward was offered in an attempt to find the guilty party or parties.
The following April Harley Kessling, who lived on the Schlosser farm, ran over what seemed to be an iron rod while disking. At first he thought nothing of it, but when he ran over it again on the next pass he remembered the sheriff asking him to be on the lookout for any section tools that may have been buried in the fields along the tract. The sheriff had asked all of the farmers living along the railroad’s right-of-way. Mr. Kessling stopped the tractor and picked up the piece of iron that turned out to be a spike-bar, used by section men to draw spikes from ties.
Kessling took the bar to the sheriff who had been searching for a clue since the wreck. The sheriff went to the field in search of other clues. He had given up the search and was looking into groundhog holes when he found a fish-plate nut wrench in one of the holes. This proved the rails had been tampered with, but it was highly unlikely the culprit would ever be identified.