He tugged at the door at the end of the car. The night was so dark he couldn't see the outline of the car ahead. As he managed to open the door, he swung his lantern a little ahead of his body. The foot outstretched to step forward stopped in mid-air. There was no car ahead! He was in the last coach of the train and it had come uncoupled.
Panic surged through him and for a moment he could hardly get his breath. His first thought was of the train which followed his own. He must signal them. They had to know there was a wild car in front of them. He raced back through the car. With one mighty heave he wrenched open the heavy door at the rear and was out on the platform. He felt his own coach losing speech and as it did he saw the huge, fiery eye of the train which followed him.
He began to swing his lantern back and forth, back and forth more furiously as the distance between him and the advancing train grew smaller. The pursuing train plunged on through the night, its cyclops eye burning balefully. With terrific impact it hurtled into the rear of the runaway coach completely demolishing it. In the collision Joe's head was severed from his body.
A witness said that his lantern waved desperately until the last, then rose in the air, and inscribing a wide arc, landed in a nearby swamp. It flickered there for a moment and then the flame continued burning clear and strong.