Note: To view clippings of the original news stories referenced herein, scroll down.
The Christmas of 1922 was no doubt a sad one for many Hellertown residents, who were mourning the Dec. 23 death of a borough man killed in an accident on Wassergass Road.
On Christmas Eve, The Morning Call reported that the accident had claimed the life of 35-year-old Hellertown native Charles Strauss, who was returning from work at the Bethlehem Steel Co. when he was struck by a truck about a half mile from his home.
The newspaper story cited witnesses who reported that the driver of the truck–Charles Grim, of Ironville*–was “under the influence of liquor” at the time of the accident. A subsequent inquest held to determine the cause of the accident reached the same finding.
The Morning Call report of Dec. 23, 1922 states the following:
“According to witnesses, Grim was driving under the influence of liquor. He was accompanied by a small boy who became frightened and ran away and was later located and told of the accident. Witnesses say that Grim was driving behind Strauss and struck him while turning out for another machine approaching from the opposite direction.”
Grim was an Ironville merchant, according to the story, and he was taken into custody at the accident scene by Hellertown Police Chief Charles Zimpfer, pending a court hearing.
In addition to his widow, Strauss left behind five young children, which the newspaper article identified as Louella, Edna, Viola, Orville and Leo.
A photo of Strauss as a child appears with his grave entry on the site FindAGrave.com, along with a photo of his tombstone in Hellertown’s Union Cemetery, where he is buried.
Four of Strauss’s children are also buried in Union Cemetery, according to information on the site.
At the inquest held shortly after Christmas, the Morning Call reported that a jury determined “that Charlies Strauss came to his death on Saturday afternoon, December 23, by being hit by an automobile driven by C.B. Grim while under the influence of liquor.
That story, published on Dec. 29, 1922, noted that Strauss’s likely cause of death was determined at autopsy to be a cerebral hemorrhage, and that Grim would have a hearing on charges related to the fatal accident “in the near future.”
*Ironville was the original name of the village of Wassergass. According to a Wikipedia entry, the name was in use until the 1890s, when it was changed to avoid confusion with nearby Iron Hill. At the time of the accident detailed in this account, both the road and the village were still being spelled “Wassergas.”
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