September 1935 event involving Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey)

The following message is from Colleen O’Marra:

In September of 1935( and it really was a dark and stormy night) a
small plane crashed onto a field. Two men climbed out and were
confronted by a security guard and his dogs. The guard asked the men
if they were okay.They were fine but the men reported that there was a
dead guy in the plane. The pilot and co-pilot were also anxious to
know where they were. The guard replied “You’re in Long Branch.” Pilot
Joe MulQueeny,” Long Branch, New Jersey ?” Guard,”No ,Long Branch,
Ontario. You’re in Canada and this is the Long Branch Race Track”.(
Kipling and Evans location) Who was the man in the plane? Well it was
Len Koenecke, outfielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers.A notorious drunk
and brawler, Koenecke had been kicked off a flight to New York at
Detroit, hired a second plane which mistakenly landed not in Buffalo
but in Long Branch. But not before a drunken Koenecke tried to take
control of the plane and had to be knocked out by the pilot using a
fire extinguisher. Koenecke died. Pilot and co-pilot were hauled up to
the Islington Courthouse where they were charged with murder.
Thankfully testimony from the first plane’s pilot on the dangerous
behaviour of Koenecke absolved the two men.The Star’s 1991 story
stated that this was one of the most bizarre deaths in baseball
history. There are a million stories out there. This was one of them.
( C. O’Marra)


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