Tuscola, IL Two Auto Collision Kills Seven, Jun 1959
TUSCOLA HIGHWAY CRASH KILLS 7.
CAR BURSTS INTO FLAMES, TRAPPING 5.
VACATIONERS RETURNING FROM NEW YORK HIT ONLY 20 MILES FROM HOME;
THIRD BIG TRAGEDY.
Tuscola, Ill. (AP) - A family group of four women and a man, nearing home after vacationing in New York, and two young women were killed in a fiery collision of two autos on a two-lane highway Thursday night.
The vacationists, within 20 miles of their homes, were a husband and wife and their teen-age daughter and two sisters of the dead woman. Their car burst into flames after the collision.
The two young women in the second car apparently were on their way home to nearby Atwood when the crash occurred about 9:30 p.m., about three miles east of this Central Illinois town.
Deputy Sheriff Leon Gale, of Douglas County, who saw the accident, said one car slid off the highway onto a soft, rain-soaked shoulder and then careened across the road into the path of the second auto.
"I was driving about 150 yards behind," Gale said. "The funny thing was you couldn't hear a bit of impact. A pair of headlights just swung up and then there was a ball of flame shooting about 50 feet into the air."
"I jumped out of my car and ran up there. One car was on fire, and all the bodies were pinned in. They all appeared dead."
Gale ran to the nearby farm of Roscoe Helm, called police, ambulances and the Tuscola Fire Department. Gale and Helm then returned to the crash scene and put out the blaze in the car occupied by the family group.
Both cars, Gale said, were completely demolished.
Sheriff Eugene Miller of Douglas County said a car driven by MISS ROSALEE BRAGG, 21, slid off the highway - U.S. 36 - and then backed into the path of a car driven by JOSEPH HARMON.
The dead were:
HARMON, 58, a farmer of Forsyth, Macon County, and part-time employee of the Macon County Agricultural Stabilization Committee. He was driving one of the cars;
His wife, JOSEPHINE, 56, an elementary school teacher in the Maroa School;
Their daughter, GRETA, 19;
MRS. AGNES D. PISTORIUS, about 54, of Blue Mound;
MISS CONSTANCE BEAN, about 52, also of Blue Mound. Miss Bean, Mrs. Pistorius and Mrs. Harmon were sisters;
MISS ROSALEE BRAGG, 21, driver of the other car, of Atwood;
MISS EVELYN LOUISE SMITH, about 19, also of Atwood.
Mt. Vernon Register-News Illinois 1959-06-12