Fayetteville, NC Two Truck Collision, June 1957
FIERY WRECK KILLS 17 IN N.C.
WORKERS ON TRUCK DEAD.
Fayetteville, N.C. - (AP) - A flat-bed truck filled with migrant farm laborers and a tractor-trailer slammed together in a fiery crash at a road intersection today and killed 17 persons.
The state highway patrol said the accident killed 16 but a check of funeral homes in the area disclosed 16 bodies and another at a hospital here.
The highway patrol said 21 persons were taken to hospitals of this area and 14 of them were in critical condition.
All the laborers reportedly were Negroes.
Fire that broke out in the truck caused most of the deaths, the State Highway Patrol said.
Ball Of Fire.
"It looked like a ball of fire," said Joe Lozak of Berwick, Pa., who saw the crash in the rear-view mirror of his potato truck. "Men, women and children lying all over the highway. I think the impact killed them, not the fire."
The patrol said 41 laborers, from several states, were aboard the truck which pulled into the path of the tractor-trailer at the intersection of Highway 301 and 102, nine miles north of Fayetteville, at 7:15 a.m.
"I didn't count them but one of the boys said he counted 37 victims at one time, all lying down, some dead and some injured, some squirming around," said W. H. Covington, operator of a country store near the road crossing.
One laborer said the workers, after camping overnight near Mt. Olive, N.C., were en route to Dunn, N.C., to harvest beans.
GILBERT ROBERT PETERS, 25, of R-2, Watwallopen, Pa., the tractor-trailer driver was slightly hurt. The flat-bed truck driver was among those killed.
Covington, who said he went to the site after "a couple of fellows came to the store to call an ambulance," added; "There was plenty of blood. Some of them victims were mangled all up. It was a terrible sight."
The scene, about 50 miles south of Raleigh, was one of utmost confusion as the truck blazed, injured groaned and wailed, and ambulances sirened in among patrol cars and ever-jamming traffic to pick up the victims.
The Highway Patrol reported that 10 of the injured were taken to a hospital in Dunn, 9 to Highsmith Hospital in Fayetteville and 2 to the Cape Fear Valley Hospital in Fayetteville.
Dwight Lockamy, who operates a filling station near Fayetteville, said he came on the scene while coming to work this morning.
"It was a terrible sight," he said. "You couldn't hardly step around there for being on a body."
Bodies were "strewn all over the highway," he said, adding that he had counted 14 bodies at the scene.
He said doctors were administering first aid to some of the injured at the scene.
Lockamy said the flat bed truck loaded with migratory workers had collided with a tractor-trailer loaded with potatoes.
He said three persons had burned in the fire, one in the cab, one lying at the right hand door partly under the truck and one under the left front wheel.
Lockamy said he had met five ambulances before he reached the scene. They apparently were bound for the Dunn Hospital.
However, the Highsmith Hospital reported it had received eight patients, and one of these, an unknown baby had died.
The other patients were listed as:
ROBERT BROWN, hip injuries.
CALVIN Milton, head injuries.
FRANK BEARD, arm and head injuries.
HORACE BURNETT, chest and back injuries.
CLEVELAND TAYLOR, lacerations, leg and hand injuries.
Unknown man, head injuries and a broken leg.
The hospital said all of these were Negroes.
It also listed as a patient GILBERT PETERS, white, from Pennsylvania.
The Betsy Johnson Memorial Hospital at Fayetteville reported it had received 10 persons, all Negroes, and that eight of them were on the critical list.
Most of the eight were suffering from fractures and were unconscious.
One of the 10, WILLIE SOLOMON, of Florence, S.C., was apparently uninjured but was being held for observation.
The others were listed as:
ROBERT ALLEN BEAUFORT, 35, Daytona Beach, Fla.
GUSTINE FRENCH, 32, Georgia.
RICHARD McCRARY, 18, Macon, Ga.
JOSHUA DYKES, 25, Augusta, Ga.
NATHANIEL SHARP, Hastings, N.J.
BOBBIE HINES, 19 (girl), Fayetteville.
MINNIE HINES, Fayetteville.
The Gastonia Gazette North Carolina 1957-06-06