Granby, MO Head On Collision, Mar 1942


Granby, Mo., March 7 -- (AP) -- Six persons were killed and at least 45 injured tonight in a head-on collision of two Frisco trains on a trestle near the Granby depot.
Of the dead four were soldiers riding on a special train. The other two were crew members on the crack "Will Rogers", en route from Oklahoma City to St. Louis.
Twenty-five passengers of the "Will Rogers" were reported injured, several seriously. At least 20 soldiers on the special also were injured.
Trainmen killed were HERSCHEL NAPIER, Springfield, fireman and WILLIAM WELDON, porter, on the "Will Rogers."
Names of the dead soldiers were not made public immediately by army officials.
FRANK REED, Springfield, engineer of the "Will Rogers" and Engineer LUTHER ERIE of Tulsa on the special, both were hurt seriously. Fireman M. McALESTER, Tulsa, leaped before the crash and escaped serious injury.
LESTER POWERS, Tulsa, conductor of the "Will Rogers", and ED CHAPMAN, on the special, were not seriously hurt.
The locomotives met head-on at considerable speed but both remained upright.
Most of the dead and injured soldiers were riding in a coach, the third car back of the locomotive. It telescoped into the baggage car ahead, pinning the victims inside. Torches were necessary to cut the bodies from the wreckage.
Frisco officials said a mixup in signals was responsible for the accident.
The "Will Rogers" contained seven cars.
One baggage car toppled off the trestle into a dry creek bed about 10 feet below. The second car, a passenger, overturned and the third car left the rails but remained upright.
There were six coaches and two baggage cars in the other train. The first baggage car overturned. The coach behind the second baggage car crumpled, one observer said, "like an accordion."
Physicians, nurses and ambulances from Monett, Neosho, Joplin and Springfield were rushed to the scene. One special train carrying nurses and doctors was dispatched from Monett. It was used to take many of the injured soldiers to Neosho.
Injured civilians were taken to nearby hospitals.
Lieut. ROBERT PENDLETON, in charge of the soldier contingent, said a roll call of his men showed only the four dead and 20 injured.
LAWRENCE LETTERMAN of Springfield, a passenger on the "Will Rogers" said he felt the train apply its brakes about a quarter of a mile before the impact.
Granby, a town of 1,400, is in the southwestern corner of Missouri, about 25 miles southeast of Joplin.

The Ada Weekly News Oklahoma 1942-03-12