On May 6, 1925, the Lackawanna night train from Oswego to Syracuse, NY was rolling toward the latter town under the guidance of engineer Arthur Walters of Fulton and fireman Harry Osborne of Syracuse. At this same time, one Myron Nichols, a farmer from Lafayette, was slowly climbing into his horse-drawn hayrack after a rousing night of testing a by-product of last year's corn crop. Fate and Dame Fortune were soon to mate these two in a tragic comedy.
Around 8:15 p.m., James Halpin, flagman at the East Raynor Avenue crossing in Syracuse watched the hayrack drive up the steep grade to the crossing and stop on the tracks, with the sounds of the oncoming train getting louder and louder. Halpin waived his lantern violently and shouted for Nichols to get off the track but to no avail. Engineer Walters, praised in the Oswego Palladium Times for his alertness, applied the air brakes as soon as he saw the wagon. Halpin rushed to the team and tried in vain to push them back across the tracks. The train, though nearly stopped, bore down upon them. Halpin jumped aside and what followed produced the comedy.
The locomotive struck the horses and in turn upset the wagon. Nichols was knocked from the seat and onto the tracks. Luckily, the engine stopped with Nichols just under the pilot. When he was helped up, he was unhurt except for a cut lip. His horses uninjured, Nichols mounted his rack and slowly drove off into the darkness. He was later found by the local constable and given a night in jail for public intoxication.
As is quite often true, good guys finish last and this was no exception. Flagman Halpin, who tried to avert disaster, was injured the worst when one of Nichol's horses dealt him a crushing kick in the leg.