Calamus, IA Auto And Train Crash, May 1931

AUTO-TRAIN CRASH KILLS 7 IOWANS.

FIVE BROTHERS, SISTERS DIE IN CALAMUS ACCIDENT.

Calamus, Ia. - (AP) - Shop keepers in this little hamlet went to accustomed tasks gravely today as they contemplated the railroad crossing on Main Street where seven young people were killed Sunday in an auto-train crash.
The five of them were sisters and brothers, out for the afternoon's pleasure ride with their two cousins, intensified the tragedy which occurred when the youths' car darted from behind a moving freight train and into the path of the Chicago North Western passenger train "Columbine," Denver bound from Chicago.

The Dead:
MARTHA BERNER, 20.
MADDONA BERNER, 19.
BERNADETTE BERNER, 16.
MONICA BERNER, 15.
ARNOLD BERNER, 13.
MILDRED BYERS, 16.
NORBERT MONTFORD, 19.
The BERNERS were sisters and brother from Toronto, Ia., and the other two were their cousins. MISS BYERS was also from Toronto, MONTFORD was from DeWitt.

Inquest This Evening.
Coroner L. O. Riggert, of Clinton County, said an inquest would be held today at 7:30 p.m., and W. H. Bard of Cedar Rapids, North Western claim agent, was expected here today to conduct an investigation.
MONTFORD was driving the car, a new sedan. He had waited for the eastbound freight to pass and then started across the tracks, despite warnings from a signal bell, a crossing wigwag, and Flagman Louis Rice.

Car Thrown 75 Feet.
Mayor L. S. Gage, who saw the crash which hurtled the auto more than 75 feet, was one of the first to the scene and helped pick up two of the bodies. The mayor said that the express train had whistled for some time before reaching the crossing.
Rice said he could not halt the car, presumably headed for the Lincoln Highway at the edge of town. More than a score of motorists and pedestrians saw the crash.

Only Father Is Left.
Death of the BERNER young people leaves the father and two brothers, their mother having died eight years ago.
"My wife asked me to keep them together; now they have died together," the father said when he learned of the tragedy. His wife had made him promise to keep the family together just before her death.
MISS BYERS was an orphan and lived with her grandmother, Mrs. Henry Tebbe. MONTFORD was the son of Matthew Montford of De Witt.

Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune Iowa 1931-05-18