Joliet, IL Ten Vehicle Pile Up, Aug 1967



Joliet, Ill., (AP) -- "A carload of people were screaming for help. We took the worst first."
So reported GEORGE LAWSHE, a Channohon fireman who was one of the fire rescuers to reach the scene of a chain of accidents early Saturday that involved 10 vehicles, killed four persons and injured 16.
The series of crashes started about 5:40 a.m. CDT in a heavy fog in Interstate 55 seven miles south of Joliet.
MRS. HANNA B. RUNIONS, 61; MARLENE LOUISE RUNIONS, 18; MRS. MARY K. RUNIONS, 25, and her son by a previous marriage, JEFFREY TALLMAN, 3, lost their lives.
The pileups involved seven members of the RUNIONS family of Kansas City, Kan., and eight members of a LLOYD family of St. Louis.
Other lesser accidents occurred later on the four-lane highway that cuts diagonally across Illinois from St. Louis to Chicago.
State police gave this account of the sequence in the two northbound lanes:
It started with a minor collision. A car driven by ERWIN CHILDERS, 34, of Jacksonville, Ill., hit the rear of the auto of FREDERICK MALONE, 22, of Corona, N.Y. A car driven by JERRY SHAW of St. Louis bumped into CHILDERS' automobile.
PHILIP DE LISE stopped his car because of the accident. THOMAS DUNBAR, 47, of Springfield, Ill., halted his truck for the same reason.
HARRY WALTRIP, 50, of Decatur, Ill., whose truck had a cargo of flammable material, rammed into DUNBAR'S truck. The WALTRIP truck jacknifed.
LEE LLOYD of St. Louis, driving with his wife and six children, halted.
HAROLD BURNS, 32, of Bellevue, Ill., approached, and his truck plowed into WALTRIP'S truck. WALTRIP'S truck burst into flames.
Meanwhile, CHARLES RUNIONS, SR., of Kansas City, Kan., driving a camper, and his son, CHARLES, J., also of Kansas City, driving a car, had pulled up on the right shoulder of the highway.
Flames spread to the camper killing four of its occupants.
The RUNIONS were en route to Winfield, Ill., to visit relatives.
CHARLES RUNIONS, SR., and his namesake son were in St. Joseph's Hospital in serious condition.
Treated and released from the hospital were MRS. VIRGINIA RUNIONS, 42, wife of the senior RUNIONS; the LLOYDS; WILLIAM BENTZ, 23, of Kansas City, Kan.; DUNBAR; WALTRIP and YVONNE BENSON, 23 of St. Louis, who was hurt in the three-car accident that started it all.
BURNS was in serious condition at St. James Hospital in Pontiac.
Four persons hurt in one of the ensuing accidents, were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital later.

Southern Illinoisan Carbondale Illinois 1967-08-13


I found this article really

I found this article really interesting, for the simple fact that this is the only article I can find on the accident my grandfather was involved in. MY grandfather is Harold Burns and actually before Mr.Waltrips truck burst into flames my grandfather helped pull him from the truck, and instead my grandfather was caught in the flames. In this accident he was burnt over 90% of his body and spent over a year in the hospital. The doctors told him that he would not live more than 5 years but he is still alive today and a very active man despite all the medical issues he has from being burnt

If anyone happens to know where to find any other articles are about this accident I would really like to read them. You can contact me via email jenna90@frontiernet.net

Same accident?

I wonder if this was the same accident MY FAMILY was involved in. Not sure because I thought I was 7 months old and this date would have made me 11 months old. And I always heard it was an 18 car collision. I don't see our names listed either. I do know it was in Joliet Il

This accident happened on my wedding day

I remember this day vividly as it was my wedding day. My father, LeRoy F. Grell was called out early by the Illinois State Police to assist at the accident scene with his towing service. Since I was the busy bride getting ready for my wedding ceremony, I wasn't aware of the extent of the accident, I was just acutely aware that my father might not be home in time to walk me down the aisle. He made it home just in time to change clothes and take me to the church. My Dad was able to keep what he had just seen and experienced from me, as he always did.