Great Falls, MT Auto And Truck Collision, Mar 1957
FIVE FORT BENTON STUDENTS, TEACHER KILLED IN WRECK.
SECOND WORST ROAD CRASH IN MONTANA.
Great Falls - (AP) - Five Fort Benton high school students and the school's music director were killed Saturday morning in a car-truck collision on U.S. Highway 87 about 13 1/2 miles northeast of Great Falls.
The accident - Montana's second worst - happened about 7:30 a.m. in Cascade County near the Cascade- Chouteau county line. The state's worst traffic crash, which killed seven Montana State college students, occurred eight miles east of Bozeman Feb. 12, 1950.
Killed in Saturday's crash on a highway reported wet from rain and in foggy weather were MERNE PARSONS, the Fort Benton high school music director, and these five students:
CLEO LORENE CRANE;
and BOB PETERSON.
All were in a car heading for Great Falls, 40 miles southwest of Fort Benton, to take part in a district music festival for more than 1,000 high school musicians and singers. They were among 88 Fort Benton high students scheduled to attend the daylong event.
Great Falls Leader newsmen, who reached the scene soon after the accident, said a Great Northern Freightways semi-tractor trailer truck was in the borrow pit on its side of the road. The front end of the truck was badly damaged.
The truck driver, JOHN A. HENEN, Great Falls, only survivor of the crash, had an injured knee but apparently escaped serious harm.
Newsmen said that when they arrived the car in which the victims were riding was on the highway, demolished. Two bodies were lying in a field, on 50 feet from the highway and another 15 feet away. A third victim was lying partly in and partly out of the wrecked car, one had been placed in an ambulance and two other bodies, covered with blankets, were lying on the highway.
They said officers had halted traffic on both sides of the accident. The mother of one of the victims, in one of the halted cars, was able to furnish names to the authorities.
A Catholic priest, whose car was stopped at the scene, gave last rites to the victims.
Both the Cascade county coroner, Dr. C. E. Magner, and the Chouteau county coroner, Dr. D. L. McGinnis, investigated. Magner gave McGinnis permission to remove the bodies to Fort Benton and said that an inquest would be held in Great Falls after completion of the highway patrol investigation.
Highway patrolmen present were Jack Riggs, Great Falls, and Forrest Wilkerson, Fort Benton.
The six deaths raised Montana's 1957 highway toll to 38 - five more than a year ago Saturday.
The Independent Record Helena Montana 1957-03-30