Columbiana, AL Auto And Train Crash, Jul 1959


Columbiana, Ala., July 31 (AP) - A station wagon smashed into a freight train in a thundershower near this central Alabama town yesterday, killing five members of a vacationing Connecticut family.
The crossing, located on a straight stretch of State Route 25 southeast of Birmingham, was marked by a stop sign. There is no barrier or blinker lights at the crossing.
Coroner Bob Bolton identified the dead as MR. and MRS. OTIS ZUIDERHOEK of Glastonbury, Conn., and three of their children - ROY, 13; DEBORAH, 7, and RUSSELL, 3.
Two other ZUIDERHOEK children, VANN, 1, and REBECCA, 9, were hospitalized. REBECCA was reported in serious condition, VANN in fair condition.
Bolton said the family had been visiting Mrs. Zuiderhoek's parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Owens, of Attalia, Ala., north of here and was en route to Mobile, Ala., to visit Zuiderhoek's family.
Mrs. Zuiderhoek was a native of the Attalia area. Zuiderhoek formerly lived at Gadsden, Ala.
The engineer of the train, Mark Lyde of Siluria, Ala., said he saw the approaching auto only a few moments before the crash. The train was traveling about 45 MPH, Lyde said.
The car hit the engine of the train, a few feet back from the front. All seven occupants of the car were thrown out, one as far as 68 feet. The parents and Russell, and Deborah, apparently were killed instantly. The coroner said Roy died about two hours later.
The Zuiderhoeks came to Connecticut about 14 years ago. Zuiderhoek was employed by Hamilton Standard Division of United Aircraft Corporation of Windsor Locks, Conn.
Twelve years ago the family moved to Glastonbury, remodeling a barn on Lenti Terrace in that town. They were members of the First Congregational Church. Zuiderhoek taught Sunday school.

The Bridgeport Post Connecticut 1959-07-31