Athens, GA Auto Plunges Into River, June 1963


Athens, Ga. (AP) - "They were begging us to get them out," said a rescuer after desperate efforts saved only two of 10 persons whose car plunged into turgid flood waters.
"I kept yelling for them to throw the children out of the car into the river," said Lamar Thaxton. "But I guess it's pretty hard to throw children into a river."
The car carried an elderly couple, seven of their grandchildren and another woman into the swirling current of the rain-swollen Oconee River near the University of Georgia Friday.
Six of the children, the invalid grandfather and the third adult drowned.
Thaxton, of Athens, saw the car lurch into the normally placid river near a bridge. "I heard them screaming, and I jumped off the bridge," he said.
Ten-year-old JERRY GREEN clung to the top of the car as it spun about and sank. Then he popped to the surface, and Thaxton hauled him to shore.
MRS. J. L. BARNETT, the driver, managed to escape and was pulled to safety.
The dead were identified as J. L. BARNETT, a 66-year-old justice of the peace; MRS. MAE WATKINS; four children of the Charles Epps family, WANDA, KATHY, PENNY and CHARLES; and DALE and DEBRA GREEN, children of Mrs. Ralph Green. All were from nearby Nicholson.

Mt. Vernon Register-News Illinois 1963-06-29