Columbus, KY Four Boys Drown, Jul 1972

Courier Journal newspaper - Louisville, KY Tuesday 25 July 1972; Section A, Page 6

Four boys drown in West Kentucky; fire kills three Uniontown children

Four boys who had been riding a long down the Mississippi River drowned yesterday near Columbus in far Western Kentucky, and three children were killed by a fire in a building in which they were playing at Uniontown, in Union County.

In other mishaps yesterday, traffic accidents killed two Kentuckians, a Laurel County man drowned in a pond near London, and a Daviess County man was killed on a road construction project.

In the river accident, Hickman County Coroner Robert Brown of Clifton, identified the dead boys - all of the Columbus area - as:

Vernon Houston HOLDER, Jr., 15, son of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Holder, Sr.
James Terry GRIFFIN, 15, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Griffin
Mike MASON, 14, and Sherman MASON, 15, sons of Mr. and Mrs. John Sherman

Three others who had been aboard the log escaped by swimming to shore. They were Gordon Ray Holder, 14, brother of Vernon Holder; Phillip Quillen, 15, and Terry Newberry.

Brown said he had not been able to obtain details of the accident but that the "boys must have gotten scared and jumped off the old hollow log."

The bodies of HOLDER, GRIFFIN and Sherman MASON were recovered by commercial fishermen and other volunteers within 11 minutes after they sank in the deep water 400 yards upstream from the Columbus ferry landing.

The Graves County Rescue Squad recovered the body of Mike MASON about 3 1/2 hours after the accident, which occurred between 1 and 1:30 p.m.

Before climbing onto the log the youths had been playing along the river. The drownings occurred near Columbus-Belmont State Park, Brown said.

Three young firs victims at Uniontown were identified as:

Patrick Michael TERRY, 4, son of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Terry
Tobatha HOSCH, 4, and her brother, Keith HOSCH, 6, children of Mr. and Mrs. Steve Hosch of Sturgis.

Mrs. Hosch and Mrs. Terry are sisters.

Uniontown Asst. Police Chief Carel Cavins said the three children and another girl, 6-year-old Sandra Kay Terry, were inside a small metal utility building about 30 feet from a mobile home when the fire started. The utility building was back of the Terry home.

Sandra Kay was badly burned and was reported in critical condition last night.

The Uniontown Fire Department was called to fight the blaze after a passerby noticed smoke pouring from the small building about 6 p.m. EDT.

State police identified yesterday's highway traffic victims as Russell Clay TIPTON, 16, Mount Sterling, and Evelyn CARDWELL, 47, Madisonville.

Police said TIPTON, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Tipton of Mount Sterling, was killed when the tractor on which he was riding got too far off the shoulder of a road and overturned on him.

Police said Mrs. CARDWELL was fatally injured yesterday when her car was struck broadside by a truck. Police said the impact caused the truck to flip in the air, landing wheels up and spilling part of its cargo of crude oil on the pavement.

The driver of the truck, Roger Lee Breedluve, 26, Henderson, was not seriously injured.

The accident occurred on KY 260 about two miles east of Hanson.

The Laurel County drowning victim was Clarence Ward, 49, East Bernstadt.

Deputy Coroner Ed Bowling speculated that Ward developed a cramp while swimming in a pond on a farm where he was living. Bowling said Ward's body was recovered by neighbors after a boy who had been on the bank of the pond ran for help.