Norristown, PA Interurban And Train Collision, July 1942



Norristown, Pa., July 9 (AP) -- Ten persons were killed and 22 injured in the head-on crash of a crowded interurban passenger car and a freight trolley late yesterday on a curve three and one-half miles north of here.
The heavy, high-floored freight, running down grade, literally sliced through nearly a third of the passenger car which was en route from Philadelphia to Allentown, Pa., with a rush-hour load.
Several of the injured were reported in critical condition at Norristown hospitals. A Philadelphia Red Cross unit which rushed blood plasma for transfusions was credited with saving six lives.
The Dead:
HENRY H. STRUNK, 42, Allentown, motorman of the passenger car.
MRS. MARTHA CLAIR, 64, Ambler, Pa.
MISS MARY McCOY, 22, Washington Square, Pa.
MRS. BERTHA THOMPSON, 50, Line Lexington, Pa.
MRS. MOLLIE DIETZ, 22, Souderton, Pa.
HARRY SHIFFER, 47, Allentown.
MISS CATHERINE L. NASE, 23, Lansdale, Pa.
HENRY T. MOYER, 46, Souderton, Pa.
MISS VIRGINIA WIEKEL, 19, North Wales, Pa.
WILLIAM M. KELLEY, 18, North Wales, Pa.
The Lehigh Valley Transit company which operates the rail line announced it was investigating to determine the cause of the crash.
GROVER S. MECKLEY, 54, Allentown, motorman of the freight trolley, said he first saw the passenger car round the curve about 50 yards away on the single track. He threw his car into reverse and ran toward the back, escaping with light injuries.
"I was running under orders," he said. "I don't think it was my fault."
MECKLEY was held in Norristown jail for questioning by Coroner Winslow J. Rushong, although no charges were filed against him.
PAUL STOUDT, 39, was motoring near the rail line and saw the crash.
"In the front part of the car almost down to the middle, men and women were lying on top of each other, screaming and yelling," he said. "It was terrible. Blood was everywhere and we could not move them because they were wedged so tightly under the seats."
Ambulance crews worked more than an hour removing the dead and injured to hospitals.
HUBERT HARZE, 35, of Lansdale, said the passenger trolley on which he was riding stopped at a siding about a quarter-mile from the crash scene.
"The conductor waited for another car traveling south to pass," he said, "and I felt sure he made a telephone call for instructions before he proceeded. I was in the back of the car and looked up from a paper and saw the freight a moment before it struck us. I don't remember a thing after that."
MRS. LOU GALE, who lives directly across from the scene of the wreck, said she "couldn't see anything but dust for a while" after she heard the terrific impact.

List Of Injured.
Norristown, Pa., July 9 -- (AP) -- The list of injured in the interurban trolley collision near Penn Square:
NAOMI KNOELLER, 20, Washington Square, left leg amputated.
RUTH KNOELLER, 18, her sister, leg injuries, possible internal injuries.
PAUL HENNING, 28, Lansdale, crushed ankles.
BETTY LYSINGER, 23, Norristown, broken left leg, injuries to back and neck.
EVELYN HALLMAN, Washington Square, leg injuries, head lacerations.
BEATRICE DUNN, 21, Kulpsville, leg and head injuries.
JAMES PETERSON, 17, Telford, head and face lacerations.
HARRY CUSTER, 60, Telford, conductor on the freight trolley, head and face lacerations.
JULIUS NICE, 67, Lansdale, leg and internal injuries.
GROVER MECKLEY, 54, Allentown, motorman of the passenger trolley, head and face lacerations.
JACOB HOLLENBECK, 35, Coleston, leg and head injuries.
DOROTHY McCLENNAN, 21, Washington Square, back and leg injuries.
HUBERT HARZE, 35, Lansdale, head and face lacerations.
JOHN GRAY, 28, North Wales, fractured skull.
FRANK WAMBOLD, 29, Lansdale, leg and head injuries.
MICHAEL MEEHAN, 35, North Wales, leg and head injuries.
HOWARD PHILLIPS, 33, Norristown, internal injuries.
JOHN DAVIS, 46, Norristown, crushed chest.
PETER McMAHON, 26, Norristown, leg and back injuries.
MRS. MARY McMAHON, 21, his wife, spine injury.
RUSSELL HONEYMAN, 23, Norristown, broken right leg and internal injuries.
MRS. FANNY COLEMAN, 26, Lansdale, broken right arm and back injuries.

Gettysburg Times Pennsylvania 1942-07-09