October 4, 1908



The Two Men Arrested While
Hiding Near Troy, Kas.

TROY, Kas., Oct. 3. -- (By telephone.). Thomas Norris and James Thompson, the "mad motorists" whose speed mania sent one person to death and seriously injured four others in Kansas City last Tuesday night, were arrested on a farm near this city early this morning.

They immediately admitted their identity and confessed that they had driven the car which killed Pearl Gochenour. They are now in charge of Kansas City detectives and are returning to Missouri without requisitions. It is probable that they will reach Kansas City this afternoon. Both men are badly frightened and despondent.

Shivering from the cool morning blasts on their cots in a tent on an isolated portion of a farm five miles south of Troy, Kas., Thomas Norris and James Thompson were arrested at daybreak yesterday morning by Sheriff M. C. Kent and Deputy Sheriff Griffin of Doniphan county. The "mad motorists" have been hidden away on the Carpenter farm for the past two days and seemingly felt secure from pursuit in their retreat. They were taken to St. Joseph, Mo., and were brought to Kansas City yesterday afternoon by Detectives Wilson and Ghent, who have been working on the case since the night of the automobile tragedy in which little Pearl Gochenour was killed and four other people seriously injured.

Captain Walter Whitsett had set his net so thoroughly that the fleeing chauffeurs have never had a chance of making their escape. The captain of police got in communication last night with Sheriff Kent of Troy over the telephone and instructed him to go to the farm five miles away where he would catch the two men wanted so badly in Kansas City for criminal negligence.

Norris, who was a chauffeur for the Woodward Automobile company, and Thompson, recklessly drove a car, going at a speed of forty miles an hour, into a frail spring wagon on Broadway, near Hunter avenue, last Tuesday night. Of the occupants of the wagon, 10-year-old Pearl Gochenour was instantly killed and Mrs. Jennie Bucher of Forty-seventh and Holly streets was seriously injured. Robert Gochenour was internally injured, but will recover. Miss Florence Bucher and Mrs. Alice Gochenour sustained severe bruises.

Without waiting to ascertain the extent of the havoc they had wrought, the motorists sped away laughing over their shoulders at the picture of the writhing victims they had brought about. After returning the car to the Woodward garage at 1929 Grand avenue, Norris and Thompson fled to the home of Norris's mother in Kansas City, Kas., where they spent the night. At an early hour Wednesday morning they set about eluding the officers and succeeded until last night, when it was learned that they might be near Troy, Kas., where Thompson's father lived on a farm.

Norris and Thompson were seen in Brenner, a small village three miles from Troy, Thursday afternoon, where they were purchasing several days' provisions for their camp on the Carpenter farm two miles from the town. They bought everything in the way of eatables from spring chicken to flour, and were continually joking about the long stay which they expected to make in their camp. Sanford Thompson, the father of one of the chauffeurs, occupies a portion of the Carpenter farm, and it was on this portion that the tent had been pitched. According to the information received over the 'phone the young men were much excited when they were informed that they were under arrest, but they gave in without attempting to escape. They will be held without bail until they can be given a hearing.

Automobile men of the city are clamoring for the prosecution of the mad drivers, as well as the general public. It may fare harder with Norris than with Thompson, as it was he who drove the car and who had taken it without permission from the Woodward garage. Since their arrest both have grown despondent and refuse to talk of the tragedy which resulted in the death of Pearl Gochenour.