Claims He Had Been on Duty Nearly 24 Hours When Yalesville Wreck Occurred.
The trial of Harry W. Easton, 28 years old, of Middletown, an engineer, charged with manslaughter in causing the wreck on the Consolidated road on November 29, which resulted in the death of Conductor William A. Leahy of West Springfield, was begun in the police court at Meriden, Ct., yesterday morning. Easton pleaded not guilty. The hearing will last two days. Easton was running two locomotives coupled together and going backward from New Haven to Springfield with rush orders, and crashed into the tail end of a regular freight train coming to Springfield from Harlem river. The state charges Easton with running by a banjo signal set against him.
The defense claims that the young engineer had been on duty for nearly 24 hours; that the engines had the right of way over second-class trains; that the Harlem river train was an hour late and should have been on a branch switch at Hartford instead of near Yalesville; that the engineer was necessarily on the wrong side of the engine to see banjo signals; that he could not see ahead of him because of a strong wind blowing coal from the tender in his eyes and it was bitter cold; that the freight train was slowed down to six miles an hour and no flag or torpedo signals were given. Weather Observer L. M. Tarr of New Haven was called as a witness.