Fader, CA Private Plane Crashes On Highway, Sep 1958



One South San Francisco man was killed and three other residents of the same city seriously injured late yesterday when their light plane crashed while making an out-of-gas emergency landing on United States Highway 40 east of Truckee. The trip was to have been a one-day outing to Reno.
A San Francisco couple returning from vacation witnessed the crash, and helped pull the injured men from the wreckage.
One of the injured was critically hurt, and was in "touch and go" condition at a Reno hospital.
Dead is GERALD ELMER CIRBY, 27, of 330 Alta Mesa Drive, a driver-salesman for Kilpatrick's bakery in San Francisco. He is survived by a wife, Christine, a son, Shane, a daughter, Capri, and by parents and a sister at Stockton.
In "very critical" condition at Washoe Medical Center, Reno, is JEROME MARK MAHER, 31, of 425 Baden Avenue, the only single man of the four. Hospital aides report he suffered severe head injuries, and was in emergency treatment for about two hours before being formally admitted to the hospital at 8:15 p.m.
MAHER works for the same bakery firm CIRBY did. He owns the death plane, a pink and blue monoplane kept at International Airport here. Aviation experts say the plane can be gassed up to fly four to five hours, easily, and that any crash of this nature is due to "pilot error."
Although MAHER owned the plane and has a pilot's license, CIRBY was reportedly flying when the ship crashed.
Less seriously injured was FLOYD PHIPPS, JR., 33, of 127 Alta Mesa Drive, a third employe of the same firm, who suffered a broken back and severe chest injuries, according to aides at the Tahoe Forest Hospital, Truckee. His condition this morning is considered "good."
ROBERT J. HARRINGTON, 32, of 141 Fir Avenue, suffered a broken ankle and other injuries. His condition was reported by Tahoe Forest Hospital sides as "satisfactory"
this morning. HARRINGTON, who has a wife and three children, is a driver-salesman for Continental Baking Company, San Francisco.
Mrs. Phipps and Mrs. Harrington arrived at the Truckee Hospital about 2:30 this morning, having been notified by local police. At 10 a.m., the hospital reported the wives had not yet seen their husbands, who had been under sedation.
The crash was witnessed by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Napier, 215 Concord Street, San Francisco, just across the Daly City line.
The Napiers were returning from a vacation at Salt Lake City and Pocatello, Idaho, said Napier this morning.
"We were driving along the highway when my wife said, 'Look, Daddy, that plane's going to crash.' Sure enough it seemed to be coming right for us."
"I couldn't tell whether the engine was going, because I was too busy getting the car stopped. I'm always afraid of fire in a thing like that."
"The plane came straight in, then seemed to turn, and crashed."
The landing attempt was made on a level section of new four-lane highway. Mountains rise steeply on the north side, and a valley drops sharply on the south. The crash occurred about a mile east of Fader, 15 miles east of Truckee and about two miles inside the California State line.
Highway Patrolman Frank Snyder said the plane's gas tank was "bone dry. There was no indication of any gas spilled on the ground." He said the plane had struck the roadway shoulder and flipped over onto its back, blocking both westbound traffic lanes.
Napier stopped his car some 200 feet away, ran over and pulled one man from the plane, then flagged down another motorist who helped him pull the other victims out.

San Mateo Times California 1958-09-11