Lufkin, TX Fatal Truck - Cow Wreck, Dec 1954

Fiery Crash Kills 3 Men Near Lufkin

Special to The News

LUFKIN, Texas.---The flaming wreckage of two trucks burned three men to death.

Dead are Merle Smith of Nacogdoches and Aubrey Gaiser of Tyler, driver of the trucks, and Ralph Perkins, also of Nacogdoches.

A fourth man, Jimmy McCrary of Tyler is in serious condition in Memorial Hospital, his body covered with burns.

Smith and Perkins were in a truck belonging to Allied Chain Fence Company of Nacogdoches, which collided with a refrigerated truck belonging to Gregg Tyler Poultry Company of Tyler, five miles south of Zavalla on Highway 69. Gaiser and McCrary were en route to Beaumont with a load of processed fryers and the other truck was headed north.

McCrary said the accident occurred when a cow stepped into the path of the fence company truck, Smith the driver, veered into the southbound lane in an attempt to miss the cow and struck the poultry truck near the left door. The wreckage burst into flames. The cow was not hurt.

The bodies of Gaiser and Smith were pinned in the trucks, burned beyond recognition.

J. E. Harrison and Grady Musick of Lufkin, saw McCrary emerge from the burning wreckage first, his clothing afire. They used their coats to smother the fire.

Then they saw Perkins running down the highway a few hundred feet away.

"It took three of us to catch him, tear off his clothes and put out the fire," Harris said. Perkins died at 1:50 a.m. Tuesday in Memorial Hospital.

Harrison and Musick both received burns on their hands.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 22 Dec 1954