Friday marks the 140th birthday of Congressman-elect Charles F. Van de Water. Van de Water was one of those few elected officials in state history who was elected to an office but never took that seat. Van de Water was killed in a late night car crash while returning home from a party to celebrate his successful campaign.
In this case, Van de Water died November 20, 1920, about two months before he would have assumed the Congressional seat that he had been elected to eighteen days before. In the 1920 election, Van de Water defeated the incumbent, Charles H. Randall (the first Prohibition candidate ever elected to Congress) who later went on to serve on the L.A. City Council.
The lesson to learn here: for those of you planning election night parties, make sure that you have a designated driver (or place to sleep) for anyone who parties a little too hard. You really don’t want something like this to happen.
LINK: New York Times article about the crash