Trolley-jumping in Memphis

by Walter Olson on June 6, 2011

Last week two trolley cars collided in downtown Memphis, and according to Allison Burton, a spokeswoman for the transit authority, some bystanders attempted to board the cars and fake injuries. Burton “said witnesses saw at least eight people run at the trolleys following the wreck” and at least two appear to have gotten in. [Commercial Appeal] Earlier bus-jumping here, etc.

{ 7 comments }

1 wfjag 06.06.11 at 4:44 pm

Walter, aren’t you being a bit judgmental in tagging this story under “fraud”? What is one person’s fraud is another person’s new Big Screen TV.

OK, snark off. I’ve been on the receiving end of a trolley jumper, in New Orleans, on St. Charles Ave. The trolley bumped a car that had stopped in the median, blocking the trolley. Since the trolley drivers were personally immune for damages, I guess crushing someone’s door was their way of expressing displeasure with rude drivers. The car driver decided to not move his car, and await the police (which is a considerable time commitment during NOLA rush hour). While we were sitting there, with the windows open (as the trolleys don’t have AC), some guy came in feet first through the window next to my seat, and I ended up on my butt in the aisle. The guy immediately put his head back and arms and legs out and began moaning. When the police arrived, I told them what had happened. They seemed to know the guy on a first name basis and led him off in cuffs (after issuing the car driver a ticket for illegal stopping and the trolley driver a ticket for careless operation). No Big Screen TV, but, he probably got a free dinner at Central Lock-Up.

2 Eric T. 06.07.11 at 8:34 am

Your blurb may have inadvertently left the impression that because 8 people ran toward the trolleys that there were 8 scamsters.

Pretty likely, though, that many that run toward accidents are good samaritans looking to help out.

3 John Cunningham 06.07.11 at 11:50 am

When I lived in Detroit in the 70s, this was standard practice. I recall a bus having an accident at 1240 a.m. on a Tuesday, by the time the cops and EMS got there every seat was filled and the aisles were full of moaning “whiplash victims.”

4 Walter Olson 06.07.11 at 10:02 pm
5 wfjag 06.08.11 at 8:03 am

Way to go Walter. Referenced by the Commercial Appeal. And, “No”, contrary to their speculation, I didn’t make up the story. Wish I had that much imagination, or like John Kennedy Toole, I would have written a best seller about New Orleans (but, unlike him, would have lived to enjoy the proceeds). New Orleans is a wonderful and amazing city, and located just across the bridge from the United States. I highly recommend visiting. You’re sure to come back with stories to amaze and amuse your friends. The food is great, too.

6 Jane 06.08.11 at 11:23 am

The Commercial Appeal always has great stories; I should look at it more often. Two years ago, police discovered a body stuffed under the mattress of a bed in some seedy motel. The family who had been LIVING in the room said they had complained about the smell. Apparently, they are the only people in America, if you believe the witnesses in the Casey Anthony trial, who can’t recognize the distinctive odor of dead human flesh.

7 AMcA 06.14.11 at 9:44 am

I understand that stanrd procedure here in Chicago is for a bus driver to lock the doors of the bus immediately following an accident to prevent anyone jumping on.

As a friend once reported, he was in a very minor bump on a bus when one of his disappointed fellow riders exclaimed “Damn, I thought I had my disability!”

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