Daleville, PA Auto And Truck Crash, July 1939

SEVEN ARE KILLED IN AUTO ACCIDENT.

ENTIRE FAMILY OF FOUR WIPED OUT; HIT TRUCK AT INTERSECTION.

ONE PERSON SURVIVES.

(By The Associated Press)
Scranton, Pa., July 6. - Seven persons, gaily bound for a church picnic, were killed today in a highway smashup that wiped out an entire family - mother, father, and two babies.
Only survivor of the crash of a small sedan and a truck at Daleville, near here, is 19-year-old JEAN JOHNSON. Today was her birthday anniversary and she was taken along to celebrate it. Physicians said her injuries were so critical she may die.
CHARLES COOPER, of Scranton, driver of the truck, escaped with cuts and bruises. He was held on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
The dead:
THOMAS BECKENDORF, 24; his wife, GRACE, 24; and their two children, GRACE, 18 months; and THOMAS, 3 months.
WILLIAM H. FRANCIS, 21, driver of the car.
ESTHER WHITEHEAD, 19.
VERNA ENDO, 14.
All were residents of Avoca, near Scranton, save MISS WHITEHEAD who lived on Spike Island, near there.
State police called the collision the "worst accident in the history of northeastern Pennsylvania."
"I didn't have a chance to avoid them," COOPER, in tears, told state police.
He told the officers he skidded the truck 30 feet trying to miss the little sedan as it came onto the Scranton-Pocono Highway from the Moosic Road. The truck empty was being returned from New York after a milk delivery. FRANCIS apparently had been driving the sedan.
Robert Johnson, brother of the injured girl, and Edward Endo, brother of VERNA, were driving a short distance ahead of FRANCIS' car. When they noticed it was not following they returned to the intersection and found the wreckage.
All had started for the annual picnic of the Federated Mozart choir of the Langcliffe Presbyterian Church at Lake Ariel. BECKENDORF was a choir member.

The Gazette and Daily York Pennsylvania 1939-07-07