Morris, NY School Bus And Truck Collision, Sep 1961


One seven year old boy died and 18 of his classmates were injured when a Morris Central School bus collided in the fog with a beer-laden truck near Morris around 8:15 a.m. Friday.
Dead is first grader DONALD BOWERS, son of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Bowers of Morris RD.
Four other children were confined in Fox Hospital last night. Fourteen others were treated for injuries by a Morris physician -- DR. FRANCIS J. VINCENT.
State Police from Troop C Headquarters in Sidney gave this account of the tragedy:
The school bus, driven by BERNARD C. BARTON, 43, of Morris was heading downhill on foggy Route 23 when the driver attempted to make a left turn onto a side road.
The truck, driven by ARTHUR W. GOBLE, 33, of 17 Sand Street was going up a slight grade. The truck struck the right side of the school bus, tearing a gaping hole in its side. SAM LAMONICA, JR., a passenger in the truck escaped injury. The truck is owned by Lamonica Beverages of Oneonta.
The impact of the crash tipped the bus over on its side near guard rails.
After the shattering crash, the bus driver wiggled out of the front seat via the broken windshield and ran to the rear of the buds to open an emergency escape hatch. In a short time, MR. GOBLE was at the rear of the bus helping the bleeding children from the crumpled wreckage.
Some of the children, in the forward part of the bus, were lifted through windows of helped through the missing windshield.
By this time passing motorists aided the men and placed the injured children on the grass near the over-turned bus.
Some cried. Some were too afraid to cry.
WARREN RHYTHER, Morris school principal said two of the first men on the scene were DR. VINCENT and DR. JEROME PAYTON, a veterinarian and member of the school board.
They cared for as many of the children as possible and ordered the more severely hurt youngsters taken to Fox Hospital.
Earlier, GEORGE MADSEN, father of one of the injured pupils, took the less-severely hurt children in his home.
After an examination, the youngsters were hustled off in private cars to DR. VINCENT'S office where they were treated.
"They were a pitiful sight ... some had glass still in their hair and they were cut and scratched," one teacher commented. "It was terrible."
In the meantime, scores of cars arrived at the crash scene. While troopers conductred the investigation along the highway drenched in beer and strewn with cardboard cases and broken bottles, a Morris Fire Truck stood by with a hose at the ready. Three or four times the hose was turned on to flush the bloor, beer and glass splinters from the highway.
MR. BARTON, the bus driven, told The Star.
"The first time I saw that truck was when it came out of the fog."
"I was turning left off the highway -- in fact I had the left front wheel on the dirt -- when the truck came at me."
"The next thing I knew I was hit."
"The bus went over just like that (snapping fingers). There was nothing anyone could do. The kids didn't even have a chance to grab onto anything."
"I don't know how I got out. I guess I went through the windshield."
"As soon as we stopped, I went right around back and opened the emergency door to let the children out. The truck driver came back and helped me."
"When the truck hit me, it moved me about five feet backwards and to the side. I could feel the bus being pushed."
"It happened so fast. I couldn't figure out what was happening."
The driver was taken to DR. VENCENT'S office for treatment. He complained of a sore shoulder and a pain in the area of the right ribs.
The school principal said that some 16 more children were due to be picked up when the crash occurred.
"Thank God, that wasn't a full bus load .. more could have been killed or injured," a volunteer fireman said.
MR. RHYTHER said that the whole student body -- some 550 children -- were aware of what happened.
"I don't have to tell you .. everyone's pretty well shaken up over the accident," he said.
State Police investigating the tragedy were:
Lt. H. J. BERGLUND, Cpl. H. J. McCARTNEY, BC1 Senior Investigator FRANK STAINKAMP, BC1 Senior Investigator WILLIAM MAYER, Troopers R. T. JUNA, J. E. FARRELL and BRUNO DEERTZ.
Investigation of the accident will be continued by troopers today, Cpl. McCARTNEY said.

The injured students in Friday's tragic bus crash range in ages from 6 to 16.
Some of the injured are brothers and sisters. Many are cousins.
Here's a list of those hurt and the extent of their injuries:
Hospitalized with a fractured arm and lacerations of the face was LYNN BOWERS, 11-year-old brother of the boy who was injured fatally. He was described in fair condition by Fox Hospital authorities.
Also hospitalized were:
REXFORD SQUIRES, 13, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Squires of South New Berlin RD. He suffered "profuse lacerations" of the head, neck, shoulder and arm. He was listed in fair condition.
CAROLYN GUGEL, 17, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Gugel, Morris RD. She suffered face lacerations and was listed in good condition.
BARBARA MADSEN, 16, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Madsen. She suffered fractured ribs and was listed in good condition.
The other children involved in the crash were treated by DR. FRANCIS VINCENT, at his office. He is Morris's only doctor. They are:
PATRICIA VAN HEUSEN, 7, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Van Heusen, deep shoulder laceration and cuts and scratches about her face and head.
Her brother, GEORGE, 9, forehead lacerations and scratches.
ARTHUR MALETTE, 6, son of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Malette, scrapes and cuts and was later x-rayed for an injured hand.
LINDA HOAG, 6, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Hoag of Morris RD, multiple abrasions and lacerations of the face. Her sister, PATRICIA, 14 was taken to Fox Hospital for x-rays. Another brother, CLIFFORD, 9 suffered cuts and scratches.
Suffering cuts and scratches and shaken up were CHARLES HOAG, 9 and LINDA HOAG, 6 children of Mr. and Mrs. Leland Hoag, of Morris RD.
Others who were treated for minor injuries according to school officials were MYRA HOAG, 5, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leland Hoag.
STEVE BOWERS, 5, and GLENDA BOWERS, 12, the victim's brother and sister.
BRUCE MADSEN, 12, his brother JERRY, 10, sons of Mrs. William Jensen, Morris RD.

The Oneonta Star New York 1961-09-09