Henry Bliss is the First Person Killed in a Motor Vehicle Accident in the United States

H. H. Bliss, a real estate dealer, with offices at 41 Wall Street, and living at 235 West Seventy-fifth Street, was run over last night at Central Park West and Seventy-fourth Street.

He was injured fatally.

Bliss, accompanied by a woman named Lee, was alighting from a south-bound Eighth Avenue trolley car, when he was knocked down and run over by an automobile in charge of Arthur Smith of 151 West Sixty-second Street. He had left the car, and had turned to assist Miss Lee, when the automobile struck him.

Here at West 74th Street and Central Park West, Henry H. Bliss dismounted from a streetcar and was struck and knocked unconscious by an automobile on the evening of September 13, 1899. When Mr. Bliss, a New York real estate man, died the next morning from his injuries, he became the first recorded motor vehicle fatality in the Western Hemisphere. This sign was erected to remember Mr. Bliss on the centennial of his untimely death and to promote safety on our streets and highways.”

— Henry Bliss Plaque, located at West 74th Street and Central Park West

Henry Hale Bliss (June 13, 1830 – September 14, 1899) was the first person killed in a motor vehicle accident in the United States. On September 13, 1899 he was disembarking from a streetcar at West 74th Street and Central Park West in New York City, when an electric-powered taxicab (Automobile No. 43) struck him and crushed his head and chest. He died from his injuries the next morning.

Arthur Smith, the driver of the taxicab, was arrested and charged with manslaughter but was acquitted on the grounds that it was unintentional. The passenger, Dr. David Edson, was the son of former New York City mayor Franklin Edson.