The Daily Post

My brother was involved in an alleged hit & run accident in the Chicago area, on January 19, 1959. At the adorable age of 2 months, I was too young to remember the event, but after digging around in the Chicago Tribune Archives online and coughing up $9.95, this fascinating piece of family history is now in my hot little hands.

Who knew? In fact, the Trib’s archives go back to 1852! I’ll bet there’s even more family fun to be discovered in the paper’s archives.

Here’s the scoop: My brother Butch and his buddy Donald reported to police that when they had stopped to inspect a flat tire on Donald’s car, Butch was struck by a hit and run motorist driving a black 1958 Pontiac. My poor bouncing brother was tossed twenty feet, and then skidded another 30 feet. Luckily, the observant duo were alert enough to glean the first two  numbers of the perp’s license plate. Police became suspicious when they noticed that my brother’s clothes were not torn or even dirty.

This is where the story began to fall apart.

My dapper bro explained that he went home after the accident to change his clothes (brand new jeans were shredded) before visiting a girlfriend in Tinley Park. Butch always did have his priorities straight, for sure. When his muscles began to ache, and bruises appeared, the boys decided that they’d better come up with the above story before seeking medical attention. The boys were astute enough to know they’d lose parental favor but fast, if the truth about their failed “Man vs Machine” experiment came to light.

Susan Marie Shuman/ SusanWritesPrecise

What happened was that Butch and Donald were driving the latter’s car in a vacant field, and my bro became curious as to whether or not his feet could keep up with the speed of tires. So, Butch grabbed the bumper and Donald began driving slowly, then a little faster, faster, and finally the speedometer reached the speed of 40mph. Amazingly, Butch’s feet were not equal to the task. When this became apparent, he tried to climb onto the rear bumper to safety. Well, that didn’t work either: Bounce, bounce, bounce went Butch.

It remains unclear as to why simply letting go of the bumper was not an option, but no matter. Butch was taken to the ER and later moved to “St. Francis hospital where he was reported in good condition.”

My brother remains in good condition as I type.

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