Cynical-C's post on the first person killed by a robot (at a Michigan Ford plant in 1979) reminds me of an odd statue I saw in southwest London as a study-abroad student in '92. Despite the times its subject lived in, the late 1700s and early 1800s, British statesman William Husskisson is depicted in a toga. The reason for the commemoration, according to our tour guide? Husskisson was the first widely reported case in history of a person being killed by a train. And it happened on the inaugural run of Robert Stephenson's Rocket, the first "modern" locomotive, on the Liverpool/Manchester line:
While attending the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, Huskisson rode down the line in the same train as the Duke of Wellington. At Parkside, close to Newton-le-Willows in Lancashire, the train stopped to observe a cavalcade on the adjacent line. Several members of the Duke's party stepped onto the trackside to observe more closely. Huskisson went forward to greet the Duke. As Huskisson was exiting his car, the locomotive Rocket approached on the parallel track. Huskisson was unable to get out of the engine's way in time, and his left leg was crushed by it.A fact that our tour guide apparently got wrong: The statue of a Roman wasn't intended as a likeness of Husskisson, but merely commemorates his passing.
After the accident, the wounded Huskisson was taken by a train (driven by George Stephenson himself) to Eccles, where he died a few hours later. The monument where his remains are buried is the centrepiece of St James Cemetery, Liverpool.
Here's a video on the statue that dubs Huskisson the "first rail fatality of the steam age."