Petersburg, VA Three Vehicle Crash Kills Nine, Sep 1959



The only survivor of Virginia's worst highway accident in 24 years, JESSIE LEE MOODY, 50, of Sutherland, was still in critical condition at noon today in Richmond Memorial Hospital.
The accident, which occurred early yesterday on Route 460, five miles west of Petersburg in Dinwiddie County, claimed its ninth life late yesterday when JOHN BAKER, Negro, 17, of Tuckers Row, Petersburg, died of injuries sustained when eight others met death instantly in a three-vehicle crash.
The state's worst accident occurred December, 22, 1935, when a Greyhound bus ran off the bridge which spans the Appomattox River in Hopewell, killing 14 persons.

Ironical Twist.

Ironically, the state's two worst traffic accidents have occurred in the Petersburg area, less than 25 miles apart.
State Trooper M. L. Duke, Jr., who investigated yesterday's highway tragedy, said today that further probing has just about convinced him that the auto carrying eight Negroes was attempting to pass a pickup truck operated by MOODY when it plowed almost head on into a tractor-trailer truck.
Killed in the crash, besides BAKER, were MARTIN ISAAC HANDY, 41, of Amelia County, driver of the tractor-trailer truck; RICHARD FELDER, formerly of Petersburg, believed to have been the driver of the auto; RONALD EUGENE JONES, 20, of 935 Stainback St., Petersburg; DONALD RAY COUCH, 19, of 1011 Stainback St.; ALEXANDER H. CASTLE, JR., 17, of 706 Rome St.; CHARLIE DAVIS SMITH, JR., 18, of the 100 block Old St.; SAMUEL LEE CLAIRBORNE, 36, of Sutherland, Dinwiddie County; and TED ROWLETT, 28, of 1356 Farmer St.

All Are Negroes.
All the occupants of the auto were Negroes.
Trooper Duke, who has been with the state police for seven years, described the entanglement of wreckage and bodies as the worst sight he has ever seen.
Twisted bits of steel and bodies were strewn along the much traveled U.S. highway. BAKER was not discovered until about four hours after the accident when a trooper found him lying about 50 feet away in a soybean field.
The tractor-trailer, which was carrying milk, burst into flames after the impact and HANDY'S body was burned.

The Progress-Index Petersburg Virginia 1959-09-22