Brent, AL Train And Auto Collision, Dec 1970


Brent, Ala. (AP) - Five children, their mother and an aunt were killed Wednesday night when their car crashed into a freight train making its last run before a nationwide rail strike began.
Brent Police Chief James Fondren said the dead were WILLIA C. LOCKETT, 39; her five children, ROBERT, 16; JAMES, 14; ROSE MARY, 12; WILLIE DAN, 9; and MICHAEL, 8; and MRS. LOCKETT'S sister, LOUISE WILSON, 50, of Chicago, Ill.
Fondren said witnesses told officers that the car, apparently driven by MRS. LOCKETT, slammed into the engine of the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio freight at a crossing.
The engine and two of the train's 142 cars derailed, officers said.
Sheriff Harold Dailey said the accident was the worst he had ever investigated.
"We couldn't even tell for sure how many people were involved for a good while," he said.
Other officers said bodies were strewn about the impact site, which was lit by Christmas decorations along a nearby street.
The train's engineer, Tossie Miller, said the car hit the engine about 15 feet from the front.
Dailey said MRS. LOCKETT either was trying to beat the train to the crossing or did not see the red signal lights because of a Christmas decoration atop the flashing signal post.
The accident occurred at a crossing on Alabama 5. The train was en route from Montgomery to Artesia, Miss.
MRS. LOCKETT'S husband, Lee Marvin Lockett, was working at a lumber mill about a mile from the crash site. Another son, Lee Marvin Jr., 17, was at home.
Coroner Jack Lee pronounced all the victims dead on arrival at Bibb County Hospital, where MRS. WILSON worked as an aide.
Dailey said the crossing had been the scene of many mishaps, but Wednesday night's collision was the first resulting in fatalities.
A family spokesman said the group had been south of Brent visiting Mrs. Lockett's mother and were returning home when the accident happened.

Greeley Daily Tribune Colorado 1970-12-10