Boy Sees Accident, Asks Traffic Light

Red Traffic Light - Stock Photo

Camden Courier-Post – July 8, 1950

By Wilbur Morse Jr.

Petitions for highway safety measures or improvements usually come from adult individuals or organizations.

But there is an 11-year old North Camden boy whose horror at seeing a car drag a 4-year old neighbor 40 feet, near an unlighted intersection, today spurred a one-man safety campaign that carried a bigger wallop than the table thumping of many of his elders.

Into the Courier-Post editorial rooms came William McQuade, 11, of 47 York Street ; his dark brow furrowed with a serious frown.

“I want to see the editor of the Mail Bag,” said William with the assurance that a sincere crusade brings.

Tragic Scene

When queried as to the aim of his visit, William pulled out of the pocket of his denim trousers a wrinkled and many times folded piece of ruled paper.

In pencil he had written:

“The tragic scene I saw July 6 makes me believe that some traffic improvements should be made on Front and State Street and Front and York Street, so that many people or kids will not be in danger from cars.”

“At 4:00 PM when work is out, cars speed up to Front and State Streets. I personally think that some zones and traffic lights should be put up there on State and York Street. Would you find room for this letter, please?”

William McQuade wasn’t speaking just for himself, he explained, after an editor had read his letter and praised his purposefulness.

“There are a lot of us kids who are in danger from the cars that speed along Front street, as work lets out at the two shipyards and the leather plant in the neighborhood.”

“They all seem to be trying to get home first.”

“I’ll never forget the sight of that accident Thursday when the cars were streaming from the yards.”

Young McQuade, a seventh grader at the Cooper school was referring to the misfortune that befell his neighbor, Dennis Taggart, 4, of 935 Point Street, who was struck by a car while playing near the intersection of Front and State.

Could Be Avoided

“If there had been a light to slow the cars down at that corner, that accident never would have happened,” William insisted.

Dennis, his skull fractured, is still in a critical condition at Cooper Hospital.

With his nephew Marvin McQuade, 8, of 707 North Sixth Street, son of his older half-brother, William brought his plea for safety measures to the Courier, because, he said: “Your paper always is trying to help people.”

William, Marvin and another playmate, pretty, blonde Catherine Wilczynski, 10, of 929 Point Street, who also had seen Dennis injured, later stood at the comer of Front and State and pointed to the comers where they believed stop signs or traffic lights should be erected.

“It wouldn’t cost much to put up a light here, where it’s so badly needed,” urged William.

“Why. I bet it wouldn’t cost as much as the hospital bills and doctor bills for Dennis Taggart. And he’s just one boy who’s been hurt. There have been others.”

“We kids rate a break.”


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