Rock Springs, WY Head On Crash Kills Eight, Jul 1957


Rock Springs, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming counted eight persons dead Tuesday in the state's worst traffic accident, a mangling head-on collision of two cars in the red desert a mile west of here on U.S. 30.
The victims included five of six soldiers en route from Ft. Lewis, Wash., to their homes in southern states after completing basic training, and three young residents of nearby Green River, Wyo. The sixth soldier and another occupant of the Wyoming car were critically injured.
"The convertible looked like someone had stepped on a cardboard box and twisted his foot around," said Marvin Emergy of Rock Springs, one of the first persons on the scene of the accident late last night.
"There were five bodies piled in a space not more than four feet square. They were piled one on top of the other as if someone had done it on purpose."
The motors of both cars were jammed back into the front seats and the impact of the crash scattered wreckage over a 100-foot radius of the desolate, southwestern Wyoming terrain dotted with sagebrush and cacti.
Highway Patrolman Harry Lankford said he was mystified by the cause of the crash. There were no obstructions to visibility in any direction, he said, and the highway is almost four lanes wide at the point where the tragedy occurred.
The soldiers who died in the collision were identified as:
Pvt. WILLIE R. BROWN, 22, Sevierville, Tenn.;
Pvt. WILLIAM D. ERWIN, 19, Big Spring, Tex,;
Pvt. JAMES L. STEEN, 22, Evergreen, Ala.;
Pvt. HAROLD L. GOESSMAN, 22, Malvern, Ark.;
and Sgt. DONNIE P. REASON, 20, Walstronburg, N.C.
The injured soldier, Pvt. BERT L. COMBS, 19, of Covington, Tenn., was near death at Sweetwater Memorial Hospital here.
The civilians killed were:
his bride of five months, KAREN, 18, a telephone operator at Green River;
Her 23-year-old husband, FORREST, was in
"poor" condition at Sweetwater Hospital.

Albuquerque Journal New Mexico 1957-07-03