Albany, WI Auto Crashes Into Train, June 1961
BOY IS LONE SURVIVOR IN CRASH KILLING 5.
PARENTS, 2 SISTERS AND BROTHER DEAD AS CAR, TRAIN HIT.
Albany - An Albany shopping trip, a slow freight train on its three times a week run - fate combined these Saturday afternoon to snuff out the lives of five members of a rural Evansville family.
Their car skidded into the locomotive of the nine-car train at the Highway 59 grade crossing just northeast of Albany.
Killed outright were:
JOHN W. SMITH, 29.
His wife MARILYN, 25.
TAMMY MARIE, 3.
BECKY LYNN, 2, was pronounced dead 50 minutes after the crash.
ROGER, 8, lived until two minutes before midnight.
That left only RANDY LEE, 7. Stunned and battered, he lies today under sedation in the children's ward of St. Clare Hospital, Monroe, under treatment for a broken leg. He doesn't know yet that he is an orphan.
The accident was the worst in Green County history.
Find Skid Marks.
Deputies said the car rounded a gentle curve just as the train approached the crossing. Engineer Orin Inman, 1244 S. Terrace St., Janesville, said the train was traveling about 25 miles an hour.
Officers found 104 feet of skid marks leading to the point of impact. The car was spun sideways and crushed between the locomotive, a signal bell pole and a concrete pipe containing batteries to operate the warning bell at the crossing.
Emile Tekale, 545 Franklin St., Janesville, brakeman on the Milwaukee Road train, said he saw the SMITH car traveling north toward the tracks. He shouted to Inman but it was too late to apply the train brakes, Tekale said.
Inman told officers the whistle was blowing when the car hit the locomotive.
The train makes the round trip between New Glarus and Monticello just three times a week, passing the Albany crossing at 4:11 p.m.
Officers believe TAMMY MARIE and BECKY LYNN were in the front seat with their parents. In back with the bags of groceries purchased in Albany were RANDY and ROGER. The family left the Albany grocery store about 4 p.m. for home, the hamlet of Magnolia just south of Evansville.
Bell Is Only Signal.
Deputies said SMITH drove the 1955 Buick around a gentle curve at the northeast edge of Albany - a stretch where drivers tend to accelerate because they are past speed zone signs.
The tracks crossing Highway 59 are partially obscured by a high knoll and by foliage. The bell pole is the only signal at the crossing.
Shocked residents of the area stopped their cars Sunday to view the accident scene. They saw the bent post which supports the warning bell. Beside the crossing were a box of Jello, a box of powdered sugar, a twisted windshield wiper blade.