Devil's Gate, UT Truck Wreck, Dec 1949

Truck Driver Dies in Crash In Canyon; Wife Badly Hurt

Devil’s Gate, Weber Canyon-A semi-trailer truck driver was dead today and his wife was in “very critical” condition at the Dee hospital, Ogden, following a head-on collision between two heavily loaded truck transports Thursday at one forty-five p.m. on U.S. highway 30, here.

Dead was Richard C. Meek, 47, Los Angeles, who was crushed in the cab of his truck as it plowed beneath the freight section of the second truck-trailer unit.

Wife Badly Mangled

His wife, Marie Barnes Meek, 38, a newlywed, suffered badly mangled and crushed legs, internal injuries, scalp lacerations, severed finger and other undetermined injuries. She was to be X-rayed further today.

Apparently thrown practically out of the right door of the cab at the moment of impact. Mrs. Meeks’ legs were pinned inside the cab. It took a Morgan county ambulance crew, Frank Little and John Johnson, and a soldier, Sidney l. Sieur, over one hour and a half to extricate her.

The body of Mr. Meeks was not removed from the twisted and crushed cab until seven p.m., after heavy equipment had arrived at the scene. The wreckage was parted by hydraulic jacks and two wreckers.

Trooper John F. Ross, who investigated the tragedy, with Sheriff Barney Dahlquist of Morgan county, said the accident happened when the Meek truck, traveling up the canyon, crashed into the rear wheels of the cab section of a semi-trailer truck traveling down the canyon and driven by Robert R. Robinson, 28, Earle hotel, Salt Lake City.

Swerves His Truck

Robinson told officers he was rounding a turn at the time and that he swerved the front section of his truck to the right in an attempt to avoid the accident. He said his cab section flipped to the right off the highway. He estimated his speed at 30 miles per hour.

Trooper Ross said that apparently the rear section of the truck loaded with 35,000 pounds of freight, continued in a straight line with considerable momentum and plowed over the cab of the truck occupied by Meek and his wife. The cab was crushed to less than half its original size.

Trooper Ross said that apparently the Meek truck had not crossed the center strip of the highway and there was a possibility the Robinson truck had skidded on the turn. He said all information relative to the accident would be turned over to Max D. Lamph, assistant Weber county attorney, for study. The accident happened just inside the Weber-Morgan county line.

Drivers Unhurt

A relief driver, Robert Moore, 42, Earle hotel, Salt lake City, riding with Robinson, was uninjured. Robinson was also unhurt.

Cooperation by the public at the scene was “excellent,” Trooper Ross said, although the traffic was halted for some time. He said William D. Core, district manager for the Utah state road commission, pressed snowplows and other equipment into action to avoid continued traffic blocks and assisted in handling the accident. An Ogden doctor arrived and administered first aid to Mrs. Meeks during the rime she was pinned in the cab.

Howard C. Shupe, Roy justice of the peace, was called to the scene to act as coroner.

Meek’s driver’s license listed his home as 308 Washington, Clearwater, Fla. He was born Oct. 7, 1902, in Greenfield, Ind., a son of John H. and Nellie Pauley Meek. He was a member of the Masonic order. The body will be shipped to Greenfield for services and burial by the mortuary, Twenty-fourth at Adams.

Auto Overturns

Two other persons suffered minor injuries some time after the accident when their automobile overturned as they were approaching the accident scene.

They were Mr. and Mrs. Dietrich J. Meyer, of Billings, Mont. Mr. Meyer, 65, and Mrs. Meyer, 68, suffered bruises and lacerations. They were given first aid treatment at the Dee hospital and released.

Mr. Meyer, the driver, told officers he and his wife were on their way to Los Angeles, when they sighted the wreckage ahead. He said he attempted to swerve away and his car rolled over twice.

Ogden Standard Examiner, Ogden, UT 23 Dec 1949