La Vale, MD Runaway Truck Kills Five, Oct 1955

Scene of Crash


Cumberland, Md., Oct. 19 (UP) - A runaway tractor-trailer crashed into another truck and an automobile in suburban La Vale today and killed at least five persons, police reported. Authorities said the brakes of the runaway truck apparently gave way on a mountain west of nearby Frostburg. Residents of Frostburg said a truck, carrying a load of steel, shot down main street at a high rate of speed.
The accident occurred on a down hill straightaway stretch of U.S. Route 40 between Cumberland and Frostburg at about 7:30 a.m.
Victims of the accident could not be identified immediately. One of them, believed to have been the driver of the second truck, apparently was decapitated. However, the driver of the runaway truck was still living.
One of the vehicles caught fire in the crash, and a utility pole was sheared, cutting off power to La Vale.
A similar accident occurred at West Newton, Pa., Oct. 4, killing five persons. In the West Newton accident, a runaway truck caromed down a hill in the center of town, hitting a passing train and derailing nine or 10 cars which crashed into nearby buildings.

Sandusky Register Ohio 1955-10-19


Cumberland, Md., Oct. 19. (UP) - Five persons were killed Wednesday when a runaway truck loaded with aluminum sheet roared down a long grade on U.S. 40 and slammed into a dump truck and an automobile in the heavily populated suburb of La Vale.
The runaway tractor-trailer caught the dump truck and the automobile from behind. The driver of the dump truck was decapitated, apparently by a sheet of aluminum that slid from the runaway tractor-trailer. The other four victims died in the flaming wreckage of the car.
PAUL S. MYERS, 25, Dover, Pa., driver of the tractor-trailer walked away from the wreck with only minor injuries.
MYERS said his brakes gave way near Frostburg five miles west of here. The truck roared down Frostburg's Main Street, gaining momentum as it went.
MYERS said he fought to keep the runaway under control, but at 90 miles an hour, a tire blew and the truck lurched into the automobile, rammed into the dump truck and sheared off a utility pole before coming to rest.
"I prayed to God as I roared along that someone would think to call State Police and have them try to get the road cleared," he said.
"But it looks like people who saw the runaway thought only to get to the scene of the accident."
The driver of the dump truck was identified as SAMUEL J. BRENNEMAN, of Springs, Pa. The occupants of the car were burned badly.
They were CLIFFORD FEARER, 38, assistant manager of Cumberland Steel Co.; NELLIE THOMAS, 31, a bookkeeper at Buchanan Lumber Co.; and FRANCIS SPEARMAN, 59, and GRACE E. LLOYD, 35. All lived at Frostburg and were en route to their jobs here.

Valley Morning Star Harlingen Texas 1955-10-20