|The Columbine, Colorado's State Flower|
Just as the engine rounded a blind left curve near Dome Rock, engineer Westall caught sight of a large pile of sand and gravel on the track directly ahead, which had been washed down the mountain side by a recent heavy rain. He could have easily "joined the birds" and jumped in the clear, but chose, instead, to stick to his engine and try his best to stop the train with its human cargo. His fireman, Joseph Nichols, also stayed with the engine but was thrown into the clear as the engine turned over and [thus] escaped injury. Westall was successful in saving the lives of all his passengers at the expense of his own. His body was pinned to the ground by the handhold on the right side of the tender. He lived 12 hours, dying in the arms of his fireman. Westall's last words were: 'Tell my wife I died thinking of her'.
|The Westall monument |
Westall was buried in Denver's Riverside Cemetery, known as the "Pioneer's cemetery." It is connected to the other monument by the Platte River, which runs along its northwest side. On the other side, it's bound by the active tracks of BNSF, the successor to the C&S and the DSP&P.⚒