Williamsport, MD Train and School Bus Collision, Apr 1935

EXPRESS HITS SCHOOL BUS, 14 KILLED.

BUS, CARRYING 30 PERSONS, HIT AT ROCKVILLE.

WILLIAMSPORT, MD., PARTY HAD ATTENDED U. OF MD. LECTURE.

By The Associated Press.
Rockville, Md., April 11 -- At least fourteen high school pupils died tonight at 11:30 o'clock in the crash of a speeding train and their school bus.
The bus was returning to Williamsport, Md., after the pupils, members of the high school there had attended a chemistry lecture at the University of Maryland, at College Park. First reports indicates there were 30 persons in the bus.
The train, a Baltimore and Ohio express, eastbound from St. Louis, tearing into the bus, caught the wreckage up and carried it hundreds of yards before the brakes of the train ground it to a halt.
The view of the crossing, on the outskirts of this village, was described by police as not obstructed.
Railroad men said the train was not derailed and was proceeding to Washington. Immediate identification of the dead was made difficult by the mangled condition of many of the bodies.
The children, all juniors and seniors at Williamsport high school, were in charge of MISS LOUISE FUNK, chemistry instructor.
The occupants of the bus were:
JANE STALEY, WILMA NEWEY, CARL BRINDLE, JAMES FLURIE, MARGARET E. ZIMMERMAN, PHOEBE KELLY, PEARL EMERSON, BLANCHE LONG, LOIS WINTERS, MARGARET KREPS, CLAUDE MYERS, DeWITT HOSE, NORRIS DOWNES, MARY HOSE, PAUL McELROY, ELVA HARSH, LeROY KENNELLE, MAY DOWLS, VIRGINIA, MYERS, JAMES STALLY, HELEN BLOYER, MARY TEACH, GLENN ANDERSON, ALBERT LEAF.
PERCY LINE, the driver and MISS LOUISE FUNK, the teacher, suffered only cuts and bruises.
"I heard the whistle just as it hit us," LINE told reporters brokenly.
"I didn't see the train until I heard the bell of the engine as I started over the track."
The terrific crash, which resulted when the engine struck the bus about ten feet from the rear end awakened scores of people living nearby.
Many rushed to the scene, carrying lanterns and flashlights, searching for the mangled bodies strewn along the tracks for a quarter of a mile.
All rescue squads in the county were called out as the search was carried on in a drizzling rain.
The seriously injured and dying children were rushed to various nearby hospitals. Two bodies were said to have been carried on the engine for approximately 500 yards.
A Rockville physician said shortly after midnight that the bodies of six boys and three girls "about 14 to 15 years old" were in one undertaking establishment. He added that two more -- a boy and a girl -- had died at Georgetown hospital and still another child in the Montgomery county general hospital. The physician said the bodies were badly mutilated but he believed all could be identified.
The Rockville rescue squad, a volunteer fire department, took the injured to hospitals and firemen from Bethesda and Kensington aided in moving the bodies from the scene of the tragedy.
Survivors, white-faced, and trembling and nearly all of them nursing cuts and bruises were taken into Rockville homes until their parents could come for them.
The teacher made the following statement:
"I felt myself spinning around and I was thrown against the driver, who was in turn wedged against the steering wheel."
"The bus was knocked around against a high bank beside the tracks and facing in the direction from which it had come."
"I heard screams and moans of crying children."
"I regained command of myself. I had been stunned when my head hit the top of the bus."

The Frederick Post Maryland 1935-04-12

Additional Information On The Disaster.
The list of dead as given out here by Mayor Richard Hawkins follows:
MARGARET EVA ZIMMERMAN.
PAUL McELROY.
CARL BRINDLE.
NORRIS DOWNS, JR.
PEARL EMERSON.
VIRGINIA MYERS.
LEROY KENDALL.
CLAUDE MYERS.
BERTHA CASTLE.
ELVA HARSH.
MARY LOUISE DOWNS.
PHOEBE KELLEY.
LOIS WINTERS.
JAMES FLURIE.
The eleven uninjured were:
ELLEN BLOYER.
MARY TEACH.
BLANCHE LONG.
DWIGHT FEARNOW.
WILLIAM COLLIER.
GLENN ANDERSON.
EDWARD HOSE.
WILLIAM GOWER.
MALCOLMN COLLIER.
WILMA NEWEY.
ALBERT LEAF.
The injured were:
JANE STALEY, broken arm.
MARGARET KREPS, internal injuries.
PERCY LINE, driver of the truck, and MISS LOUISE FUNK, teacher accompanying the children, were not injured.

Comments

Rockville wreck

The first thing I wanted to bring up is that the wreck happened in Rockville and not Williamsport as the headline states.

Second - to the documentary producer. I have written about this tragedy and have some reference material.

Third - to the webmaster. You have neglected to include one of biggest train wrecks in the state's history. October 24, 1942 at Dickerson, Md where two passenger trains and a freight train collided causing the death of 14 people.

Documentary Film

Hi, I've been reading as much as I can about the bus tragedy in Rockville Md in 1935. I am thinking of making a documentary film about the incident. I am an independent filmmaker based in Rockville Md. Is it possible for me to contact you? Thank you

Rockville School Bus Accident, 1935

My aunt, Phoebe Kelley, who's name is also misspelled, was killed in this accident. Although she died many years before I was born, my family has always spoken highly of her, keeping her memory alive. She was a bright and beautiful teenager at the time, whose life was cut way too short!

The Rockville Tragedy

Hello,. I just did a search for the title of my book, The Rockville Tragedy. I wrote and published the book in 1995. I read your comment here with interest and thought I'd contact you. You may write me if you wish. I live in Williamsport, Maryland. This story touched my life in a very personal way. Please let me know if you want to ask me any questions. Sincerely, Debra Carbaugh Robinson

Rockville MD train-bus collision

I learned of this tragedy a few weeks ago while visiting Rockville. I walked the wreck site and St Mary's churchyard near the tracks. Many things changed. I would like to learn more about the children who died, the train conductors, and those who survived. I visited Williamsport, too. Am hopeful that there are still many families who have their personal stories.

Last name is incorrect

My uncle James Flurie was killed in that accident. His last name was misspelled in the article. My uncle Jim was an extraordinary young man who had a full scholarship to play his violin at Juliard in New York. He made an impact on so many people during his short life.