Detroit, MI School Bus - Train Wreck, Oct 1942
20 DIE IN BUS CRASH
School Bus Hit by Train in Detroit
Seven Bodies Already Recovered in Tragic Crash
DETROIT, Oct. 28 (AP) -- A south-bound Grand Trunk Western railroad passenger train struck a school bus at the Oakland-Caniff crossing this morning and police said nearly 20 children were reported killed.
Police of suburban Hamtramek said at least seven bodies had been removed from the wreckage.
Patrolman EDWARD VAN GORDON said wreckage of the bus was strewn along the railroad right of way for nearly two blocks.
Several of the victims were caught in the under-carriages of the passenger coaches of the train, which ground to a halt a quarter of a mile past the crossing.
The bus, on the Plymouth-Southfield line, was east bound.
JOSEPH LEVINSKI, tower watchman at the southeast corner of the intersection, said the bus was a Detroit Department of Street Railways vehicle, and that it had stopped to let a northbound freight pass the intersection.
"As soon as the freight train cleared the crossing the bus driver started to cross," he said. "He did not appear to see the southbound passenger train until it was on top of him."
The train was a through passenger train bound from Chicago to Detroit.
ARTHUR CURTIS of Detroit, who was in a private passenger car alongside the bus, said, "I saw the bus start up as the freight train cleared. I caught a glimpse of the approaching passenger train and threw my hands over my eyes and the next thing I heard was an awful crash."
CURTIS' car was wrecked as the bus swing sideways into it, but he escaped injury.
The accident occurred shortly before 9 a. m. when many children were en route to schools. School books were scattered all about the scene.
The Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1942-10-28
The Dead Identified:
EUGENE CHLEBNIK(?), 15, Detroit high school.
MRS. EASTER KEMP, 36, Detroit high school.
MRS. MARIE LE FEVER, 35, teacher.
NOBERT TURKOWSKI, 25, Hamtramek.
MRS. BERDELE NEWBY, 30, Detroit.
MISS. CLEMENTINE GAZDA, 20, clerk.
ROBERT W. BERTH, 17, student, Detroit.
JOHN FESCHUK, 15, student.
MRS. PAULINE OSADCHUK, 47, Hamtramek.
ROGER LELEMAN, 19, University of Detroit, freshman.
MISS JUNE PERSHING, 18, Detroit.
MRS. HELEN DRUZGALSKI, 45, Detroit.
The other dead were a man who was wearing a badge of General Motors Fisher body division, and a youth.
The above list taken from
The Helena Independent Montana 1942-10-29
16 KILLED AT DETROIT TODAY
Passenger Train Slices Through Crowded City Railways Motorbus.
Detroit -- (AP) -- Sixteen persons, including several school pupils, were killed this morning as a passenger train sliced through a crowded Detroit street railways motorbus.
Bodies were strewn along the tracks for two blocks, and some were mangled against the front of the locomotive of the train, a Grand Trunk western passenger train arriving from Chicago, pulled to a stop a quarter of a mile past the crossing.
The bus driven by WILLIAM F. CLOS of Detroit, had stopped at the Caniff avenue crossing while a northbound freight train passed.
Eye-witnesses said electric flasher signals were operating, but that after the freight passed, the bus started across the tracks into the path of the southbound passenger train.
The front end of the bus cleared the tracks, but the locomotive smashed through the vehicle at its middle doors, cutting it in half. Most of the dead were passengers in the rear end of the bus.
Schoolbooks of the younger passengers on the bus were scattered along the right-of-way. Many of the bodies, some decapitated and others with limbs severed, were impossible to identify immediately.
The front end of the bus, hurled aside as the train struck it, was left on its side close to the intersection. The rear end was smashed to fragments and scattered.
JOSEPH LEVINSKI, operator in a tower at the southeast corner of the intersection, told how he watched the bus start up after the freight passed.
"The red flasher lights were still working," he said. "The passenger train was coming fast, southbound, with the engine whistle screaming. I saw this bus start up. I knew it would do no good, but I leaned out of the tower and yelled. I yelled my head off. The bus went right in the path of the train, and there was an awful splintering crash, and then screams."
MARY ALLA, 12, one of the bus passengers who escaped with slight injuries said, "I was in the front end of the bus and all I know is that there was a crash and then I fell down and then somebody cut through a piece of wood and picked me out."
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