Related Links:
INDY 500 MEMORIAL - 1919
Home           Contact             About              Site Map            Privacy                               Copyright © 2015   All Rights Reserved
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Fatalities - May 1919
Louis LeCocq - driver
Robert Bandini - mechanic
Arthur Thurman - driver
Nicholas Mollinard - mechanic
About 125,000 people witnessed the 1919 Indy 500, known at the time as the International Sweepstakes.
It was won by
Howard Wilcox of Indianapolis, who drove his Peugeot car over the 500-mile course in
5 hours, 44 minutes and 21:75 seconds.
Thurman's Indy Record
Arthur Thurman was driving his first big race.  He had
had no trouble with the Duesenberg he had designed and
rebuilt himself, his Thurman Special; and he was driving a
steady race about 90 mph - until the 45th lap.

Coming out of the backstretch and going into the northeast
turn, he lost a wheel, skidded, overturned and slammed
into the inner wall.  Thurman, thrown about 25 feet, died
10 minutes after he was taken from the track.

Nicholas Molinaro, a Frenchman, was dragged
underneath the car and suffered a fractured skull.  He was
taken to the hospital and surgery was performed.

Eddie Rickenbacker told reporters that Thurman was in
a field too fast for him and was trying too hard to keep up.

Thurman was an attorney in Washington, D.C.  He had
only recently become interested in racing, but had already
raced in dirt track events and on transcontinental tours
and was planning to race this year at Sheepshead Bay in
New York.

Arthur Thurman was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1886.  
His family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and
Thurman practiced law for 10 years in Atlanta before
moving to Washington D.C.  He married
of Washington, who was in the stands when
her husband crashed.  They had no children.  

Nicholas Molinaro's brother, Michele, who was a fighter
known as
Micky Delmont.  He was in Indianapolis
waiting to take Nicholas home from the hospital if he lived.  
Nicholas lived in Newark, N.J., and had worked for eight
years in the Duesenberg plant at Elizabethtown, N.J.
Arthur Thurman and Nicholas Mollinard
Year        Car No.        Car                               Laps Completed                Start      Finish
1919        18                Thurman Special        44 - wrecked T3 - died        18          27
Everyone had high hopes for Louis LeCocq's first Indy
Roscoe Sarles, who drove Barney Oldfield's car
in the race, gave LeCocq his own car, Roamer (a
Duesenberg); Sarles obviously had great respect for
LeCocq's ability.

On their 97th lap,
Louis LeCocq, 26, and his mechanic,
Robert Bandini, 21, hit the wall as they were coming out
of the southeast turn.  LeCocq was driving close against
the outside wall.  His car hit the sand, and the rear end
whipped against the wall in front of Grandstand G.  The
gas tank exploded.  Flames were leaping over 20 feet
high when the car stopped upside down about 75 feet
from where it hit the wall, pinning both men beneath it.  
Covered with burning gas, their bodies flamed for five
minutes before guards and spectators could put out the
fire.  They were burned beyond recognition, still strapped
in their seats.

LeCocq was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1892.  He
worked as a mechanic on the dirt tracks before he began
auto racing in Elgin Illinois, in 1914.  He first came to the
Speedway in 1917, as
Eddie Hearne's mechanic.  Later
in the same year he began driving in California and was a
money winner in several events in Los Angeles.  In 1918
he was slightly injured in the L.A. Ascot Park race, and in
1919 he placed third in the Santa Monica road race.

Robert Bandini, born in LA. in 1898, was probably the
wealthiest man actively engaged in racing at the time of
the accident.  Several years earlier he had inherited
one-sixth of the seven-million-dollar Debaker estate in
Southern California.  Socially prominent in Los Angeles,
he provided racing cars and acted as mechanic to
famous drivers.  He wanted to become familiar with every
aspect of racing.  In March 1918 Bandini began working
as mechanic for
Brent Harding.  Later that year he had
driven in the Ascot Park race in California and overturned
barely escaping fatal injuries.  Bandini also acted as
mechanic for
Roscoe Saarles, who apparently had
good reason to believe he had not one but two top men
in the Roamer.
LeCocq's Indy Record
Year     Car No.     Car                         Laps Completed         Start   Finish
1919        15        Roamer                96 - wrecked T2, died        25        18
Louis LeCocq and Robert Bandini
Nicholas Mollinard, mechanic, and Arthur Thurman, driver, in Deusenberg
Oak Wood Cemetery, Pella Iowa
Chattanooga Valley
Baptist Church Cemetery
Flintstone Georgia