North Lawrence, NY Car Hits Freight Train, Dec 1952


A Winthrop youth was killed and seven young persons injured Christmas night when their car crashed into the engine of a freight train in North Lawrence.
Fatally injured was ROBERT CLARENCE BESAW, 18, Winthrop, the driver of the car. He was decapitated.
Taken to the Potsdam Hospital were the dead man's brother, PAUL BESAW, 23, with lacerations of the scalp and shock; SHIRLEY RUSSELL, 14, Winthrop, with lacerations of the upper nose; WAYNE WILKINS, 16, Winthrop, shock; SHARLEEN SHARRON, 15, of Fort Jackson, shock; CLIFFORD WOLCOTT, 20, Winthrop, bruised left arm; and VALERIE WOLCOTT, 16, with scalp lacerations.
State Police said BESAW was driving through the main street of North Lawrence at 10:05 p.m. last night when he struck the rear side of a Rutland Railroad diesel of freight train 119, running from Alburg, Vt., into Norwood. The boy, who was driving a 1936 Chevrolet, was killed instantly.
Two ambulances were called to the scene immediately. Passing motorists also stopped to give aid.
Roads were slippery. Light snows were falling. BESAW and his passengers were headed for Malone.
Police report that the accident occurred at an unguarded crossing. There was no red light of any kind, just the usual reflector type sign about 15 feet above the site of the mishap, they said.
Engineer, Henry J. Sharlan, Malone, said he saw the car approaching from his right and the train whistle was blowing at the time. He set the brake but couldn't stop in time.
The car was demolished. The motor was pitched 75 feet away into a field.
The train crew included, Sharlan; fireman, Donald Rice, Ogdensburg; conductor, Adam N. Leffler, Ogdensburg; brakeman, Herbert M. Jones, Ogdensburg; Arnold J. Hazen and Riley E. Poquette, Alburg, Vt.
Sgt. J. P. Nolen and Trooper T. J. Burns of the B.C.I. in Canton and Troopers L. E. Brown and J. P. Mitchell of the Massena State Police investigated.
St. Lawrence County Coroner Florence Dunlop of Madrid ordered the release of the body to the Hourihan Funeral Home at North Lawrence. An inquest is pending.
The injured were treated by Dr. Ralph Cudlipp, Jr., Brasher Falls, and Dr. Ralph Cudlipp, St., Winthrop.

Ogdensburg Journal New York 1952-12-26