Gallup, NM Truck And Auto Crash, July 1961


Gallup, N. M. (AP) - Thursday morning the sun shone briefly on a better world for Charlie J. Smith and his wife and six children.
Monday, he was promoted from a pick and shovel man on a Santa Fe railway section gang to machine operator. The boost in pay would help him and his wife after struggling along for seven years of married life on the meager earnings of a section hand.
Smith could probably get to see his family more often, and maybe they wouldn't have to be living apart.
The dreams and plans of the Smith's future were blotted out in a tragedy-stricken hour of horror at 8:40 a.m. Thursday. MRS. SMITH, 35, and the six children, CECILA, 6; RICHARD, 5; EDWARD LEE, 4; WANDA ANN, 3; LORETTA, 2; and VIRGIL LEE SMITH, six months, were killed.
The family was on its way to see husband and father when MRS. SMITH made a left turn from busy U.S. Highway 66, right in front of a heavy grain truck on the outskirts of Gallup. State Police said MRS. SMITH failed to keep a proper lookout.
Gallup Police Chief Manuel Gonzalez, who has seen many horrible accidents on the hustling highway, said it was the worst he had ever seen.
SMITH, a Navajo Indian as was his wife, was brought to the scene of the accident, which was only a few blocks from where he was working, just as the ambulance was taking the last of the children away. MRS. SMITH and four children were dead at the scene and the other two died in a Gallup hospital an hour later.
After viewing his loved ones in a Gallup mortuary, he collapsed on the curb. Relatives led the grief-stricken man to their home where he is waiting to bury his dreams and family.

The Daily Journal Fergus Falls Minnesota 1961-07-08