Amarillo, TX Auto And Train Collision, Jan 1960
CRASH CLAIMS 5TH VICTIM.
TRAIN CRUSHES FAMILY'S CAR.
Amarillo, Texas - SHARON BROWN, 11, died at 12:40 a.m. today, the fifth victim of the grade crossing crash which killed all members of the family of DR. ROBERT L. BROWN, of Canyon.
DR. BROWN, 37, and his two sons, DAVID, 6, and ROBERT LEE JR., 9, died instantly when their car was crumpled by the Santa Fe Railway's San Francisco Chief No. 2 at 6:24 p.m. Tuesday at the Washington Street crossing, just south of the Amarillo city limits.
MRS. DOROTHY BROWN, 34, his wife, and SHARON were taken by Amarillo Ambulance Service to Northwest Texas Hospital where MRS. BROWN died about 7:30 p.m. SHARON underwent brain surgery at the hospital, but she was in "very critical" condition from the time she was admitted.
Randall County Justice of the Peace W. A. (Bill) Wilson acted as coroner at the scene.
The BROWN family was coming from Canyon to Amarillo on Farm to Market Road 1512 to attend a veterinarians' meeting at the Herring Hotel.
Their 1957 model four-door sedan was thrown 171 feet north along the ice and snow covered railroad track by the impact of the collision.
The northbound passenger train had been scheduled to arrive in Amarillo at 6 p.m.
W. W. Wheeler of Amarillo, engineer, told Highway Patrolman Fred Lenz of Canyon he saw the BROWN automobile stop in front of the lowered crossing gate, then pull into the path of the oncoming train.
The S-shaped crossing is marked also by bells and lights. The gates bar only the right traffic lanes of the highway.
The vehicle looked like it exploded on impact. Wreckage was strewn around the area. A service station pickup truck which had sideboards was heaped to overflowing with crumpled metal after the area was cleared.
Wheeler said the train was traveling 79 miles per hour at the moment of the collision.
The train was delayed approximately three hours as a result of damage to the locomotive.
Serving as conductor on the run was Floyd Ridner of Amarillo; W. J. Westcoat of Amarillo, was fireman; and L. P. Pearson of Amarillo, was brakeman.
Only a few hours before the accident, highway officials met with the Amarillo City Commission and received assurance that the city would purchase the right of way for construction of a bridge over the railroad crossing. Randall County has already been committed for its share of the right of way.
A contract for construction of the bridge is expected to be let by the state highway department this year.
The proposed crossing will be located to the south of the present grade crossing, virtually eliminating the S-shaped curve.
Amarillo Globe-Times Texas 1960-01-20