Cordell, OK Two Car Crash Kills Eight, Dec 1961


Cordell, Okla. (AP) - Eight Oklahomans were killed near here Friday night in a flaming two-car smashup described as the worst on record in the state. There were no survivors.
Seven of the victims were in one car, including all five members of an Elk City family. Their car overturned, trapping them inside, and erupted in flames.
The deaths occurred only 32 minutes after the official start of the long New Year's holiday weekend.
Killed in one car were RANDOLPH VALDEZ, 23; his wife, BRENDA, 21; and the couple's three children, JAMIE LYNN, 3; DARRIE KAY, 2, and CHESTY LEE, 6 months, all of Elk City; CAROLYN KELIN, 16, a sister of MRS. VALDEZ; and TESSIE BELL, age unknown, both of Anadarko.
Also killed was the lone occupant of the other car, JAMES EARL THOMPSON, 47, of Lawton, a civilian worker at the Ft. Sill Army Base.
The Highway Patrol said THOMPSON apparently lost control of his car and it skidded sideways across the highway into the VALDEZ car, which went off the right shoulder of the road.

The Indiana Gazette Pennsylvania 1961-12-30