Cambridge, OH (near) Auto And Tractor Trailer Collision, May 1960



Cambridge, Ohio -- Six young Air Force men were instantly killed early Monday when their westbound automobile traveling at 100 miles an hour slammed head-on into a tractor-trailer on U.S. Route 40, 17 miles east of here.
The accident was the worst in the nation during the Memorial Day weekend. Some 300 persons had been killed in traffic by 10 p.m. Monday.
The Guernsey County crash, which occurred shortly before 6:30 a.m., boosted Ohio's traffic death toll to 26, the highest of any state.
The victims, identified by the Ohio Highway Patrol and Guernsey County Assistant Coroner Wayne Thatcher from "dog tags" and other personal effects, were:
JAMES E. ALTENBURG, 21, of near Gilroy, Calif., owner of the 1957 Chevrolet.
STANLEY P. CHESLOCK, 19, of Hazelton, Pa.
LOUIS CONOVER, 21, of near Englishtown, N.J.
HAROLD J. CLARK, 20, of Old Bridge, N.J.
JAMES LEO CHEWKANES, 17, of Atlantic City, N.J.
CHEWANKES was thrown from the car. The five others died in the wreckage.
The truck driver, CLIFFORD C. TOWNSEND, 37, of Vandalia, Ohio, was reported in fair condition at Guernsey Memorial Hospital where he is being treated for multiple cuts and bruises.
TOWNSEND, interviewed by Patrolman Carl E. Law who is conducting the investigation, said he saw the car traveling on the wrong side of the highway but could not avoid the crash. He was pinned in the cab of his truck.
The six air policemen were stationed at the Clinton County Air Force Base near Wilmington, Ohio, and were returning from the East Coast.
Wrecking crews spent more than two hours untangling the wreckage and authorities several more hours identifying the mangled bodies.
The car and the cab of the tractor-trailer truck were weded together by the impact.
Highway Patrol Sgt. Graham Day, commander of the Cambridge post, estimated the servicemen were traveling about 100 miles per hour.
He said they were on the wrong side of the road on a straightaway and that they had just cleared a slight rise. He said there were no indication of skid marks. It had been raining throughout the eastern Ohio area when the accident occurred.
Ben Allen Vaughn of Cincinnati, a driver for the Roadway Express Company, said he saw the accident. He was driving behind TOWNSEND.
"The car came up a rise in the road on the wrong side of the highway," Vaughn said. "It hit the truck which jackknifed and swung left across the highway, crushing the car against an embankment."
Assistant Coroner Thatcher said it was not determined who was driving the car. He said the driver apparently fell asleep.
Three ambulances were at the scene. The bodies were removed to the Scott Funeral Home here pending arrangements.
The accident was the second bad one in the general area during the holiday. Early Saturday morning DONALD VAN CUREN, 18, star basketball player at Flushing High School, was killed when he and three companions, celebrating their graduation a few hours earlier, smacked head-on into a truck on U.S. 40.

Times Recorder Zanesville Ohio 1960-05-31


There was no parking place

There was no parking place across from the post office. Perhaps you meant the general store? I too, recall this accident.

Servicemen killed on route 40

I saw the aftermath of this wreck in Hendrysberg while staying with my grandmother Maude Moore. The car was in the lot across the street from the post office. I went to look at the damage, the roof on the drivers side was crushed but there was just enough room for a dumb 10 year old to stick his head into the opening, my face was close to the dashboard on top of dash was a bit of brain matter not sure how I knew what it was but it sent a shiver through me, could not get my head out fast enough,it has been with me for 57 years now.

Wrecker Service

My father was the first wrecker service on the scene. Robert Wesley, who owned and operated Wesley's Garage in Hendrysburg, OH worked for hours with only chains to pull metal apart and axes to cut the metal, in an effort to get these young men out of this car. He was seen on that night's Huntley Brinkley news broadcast cutting the doors off with his axe. The remains of the car were towed to his tow yard in Hendrysburg.