Phoenix, AZ Auto And Train Crash Kills 12, Dec 1956
12 KILLED IN CROSS CRASH.
ALL VICTIMS IN ONE AUTOMOBILE.
Phoenix, Ariz. (UP) - Twelve of 13 persons crammed into a 19-year-old automobile built to carry five persons were killed early Monday when the car crashed into a passenger train here. Four of the victims were children. The 13th, a baby girl, was injured critically.
Police believe the accident may have been one of the worst of its kind in history.
Police tentatively identified the victims as:
JUAN ALIRES, SR., 59;
JUAN ALIRES, JR., 21;
VICTOR ALIRES, 28;
CLARA, ALIRES, 21;
SOFI ALIRES, 28;
MIKE ALIRES, eight months;
STEVEN ALIRES, 10;
DAVID ALIRES, 8;
BOBBY ALIRES, 3;
all of Mexican descent;
Leroy JOHNSON, 36;
JOHN MASSERY, 36;
and a woman about 40 - name yet unknown.
None of the addresses was known.
Hospitalized and "holding her own" according to attendants, was the baby girl, CRUCITA ALIRES about 20 months, who required surgery for head injuries.
Officers believe MASSERY may have been driving the car, which carried California license plates. A check with California authorities showed the car had been registered to Donald Haga of Sacramento. However, Mrs. Haga said in Sacramento, that her husband had sold the car to a man named John Massery of Phoenix.
Police Monday morning located the 12th body, that of a three-year-old boy, hidden in the weeds along the railroad tracks. All of the victims were badly mangled, some torn into pieces, by the force of the collision.
None of the passengers on the train was injured, and a Southern Pacific spokesman said the train's engineer was not aware of the accident until a bumper from the car fell off the engine unit as the train pulled into Union Station here about three miles from the wreckage scene.
The demolished vehicle was a 1957 Chevrolet sedan, and a torn California license plate taken from the vehicle was checked with California authorities. The vehicle was registered to Donald L. Haga, 330 Berington Road, Sacramento.
Police said the accident took place at an unguarded crossing as the train was pulling into Phoenix. Several of the victims were believed to have been farm workers of Mexican descent.
"It was terrible," a police officer at the scene said. "The bodies were a mess and bits of wreckage everywhere. The only identification we could find left in one piece was a torn California license plate."
Phoenix police said the car apparently hit the side of the train between the first and second engine unit of the diesel. Officers said the accident took place at 35th Avenue near Jackson Street.
Officers said the crossing only has a standard sign warning and no signals. The accident happened at 12:10 a.m. MST and within minutes hundreds of spectators jammed the area.
Police continued with sheriffs deputies held the crowd back while the bodies were removed. Following the accident the train proceeded into the Phoenix station.
Las Vegas Daily Optic East Las Vegas New Mexico 1956-12-17