Copemish, MI Train And Truck Collision, June 1967


Four migrant workers enroute to Thompsonville from Texas were killed when the canvas-topped truck they had been riding in for some 1,500 miles rammed into the third engine of a Chesapeake and Ohio freight train at a railroad crossing on Country Road 669 two miles west of Copemish in Manistee county Saturday morning.
Twenty-eight other migrant workers were injured in the crash.
State police are still investigating the accident in which MRS. JUAN (CONSUELO) QUINTANA, 45, of Laredo, Texas, wife of the driver, and three others, LEE SANCHEZ, 56, of San Antonio, MRS. MARIE MOLINA, 62, of Corpus Christi and SANTOS MOLINA, 68, of Corpus Christi, were killed.
MRS. QUINTANA was riding in the cab of the truck with her husband and the others were riding in the back of the truck.
All four deaths occurred when the victims were thrown out of the truck. All four reportedly had crushed chests and internal injuries.
State police reported SANCHEZ was dead on arrival at Memorial Hospital in Onekama and that the other three victims were pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner C. H. TERWILLIGER of Manistee county.
Eleven of the injured were taken to Mercy Community Hospital in Manistee, six to Memorial Hospital in Onekama and 11 to Paul Oliver Hospital in Frankfort by ambulance.
State police said the driver, JUAN QUINTANA, failed to see the train in the heavy rain and tried to swerve too late to avoid hitting it.
The two-ton truck reportedly struck the third engine of the train at a 45-degree angle and was spun around and struck in the rear end by the train.
State police said also that train engineer DONALD R. GOSSETT, 66, 530 Wellington, Traverse City, apparently did not realize the train had been hit and continued on for a distance.
The workers were coming into Michigan for the strawberry harvest which will begin in about two weeks.

Record Eagle Traverse City Michigan 1967-06-12