Lubbock, TX Auto Collision Kills Nine, May 1961


Lubbock (UPI) - A young boy, tears spilling down his cheeks, looked one by one at the eight broken, mangled bodies of his parents, brothers and sisters.
"God help us. God help us," he said quietly.
Then he turned away, buried his head in his hands and cried unashamed.
WILLIE DEGARTE, 14, had learned only a few minutes before that he had become an orphan. He and another brother, Archie, 15, had been staying with a married sister, Mrs. Francis White, 23, when the accident happened.
They may be the only ones left of a large family. All the rest were killed, except for a younger sister who is so badly injured she isn't expected to live.
Nine persons were killed Thursday night and the death toll may rise to 10. It happened at an intersection of two farm roads, about four miles east of Lubbock.
Police said it was the worst traffic accident in history in Lubbock County.
LT. JOHN CARPENTER of Reese Air Force Base was in one car. Marks on the road showed he hit the brakes, fishtailed his car, but couldn't avoid hitting the second automobile loaded with the Negro family and a friend.
"He (CARPENTER) hit that car at a 45 degree angle," a state highway patrolman said. "It looked like somebody had gone down the side of the car with a giant can opener and just ripped it open. All 10 of them were thrown out in a bloody heap."
"There was an eye witness to the accident. The witness was rather close, and there is no doubt that the car ran a stop sign and pulled out in front of LT. CARPENTER."
Killed were OCLE DEGARTE, 33, a Lubbock service station attendant; his wife, IRENE, 43; and their children - OCLE RAY and DOLLY FAY, twins who were 10; two other sons, BEN, 6, and RICHARD, 2; and two other daughters, PATRICIA, 11; and DORIS JANE, 7.
MRS. PEARLIE MAY KING, 30, a friend who was with them also died. LORAINE DEGARTE, 5, the other person in the car was in critical condition at Methodist Hospital.
CARPENTER was rushed to the hospital at Reese AFB. Officials said he was in
"good shape" and expected to survive.

The Monitor McAllen Texas 1961-05-12