Toltec, AZ Auto And Train Crash, Nov 1960


Toltec (AP) - A speeding Southern Pacific freight train sliced into a car at a grade crossing near Toltec Monday killing seven persons, four of them children.
The bodies of the victims were strewn for more than 200 yards along the tracks.
The dead:
MRS. ANNABELLE MARTIN, 20; her son, ELLIOTT, 5; and daughter BARBARA, 3.
MRS. RALPH JEWEL, 26; het two sons, LEROY, 3; and RUSTY, 15 months.
BENJAMIN MARTIN, 37, brother-in-law of MRS. MARTIN.
They were en route from their home on the Hildebrande and McCarthy Ranch, 17 miles south of Toltec, to nearby Eloy.
Sheriff's deputies said the car was headed north on a side road toward State Highway 81. The car slowed as it approached the tracks, but kept rolling into the path of the train.
Engineer J. L. Kennedy of Tucson threw the train into an emergency stop when he saw the car roll onto the tracks, but was unable to avoid the collision.
The 55-car train dragged the wreckage of the auto almost half a mile before stopping.
Found among the wreckage of the car was a set of ornamental plastic dice. One showed a 3 and the other a 4 for a total of 7 - symbol of the end to the dice thrower.
Nearby was an old rag doll, its neck broken and legs torn off.
Southern Pacific trainmaster Q. B. Payne of Phoenix, who investigated the accident, said the speed limit for S.P. trains in the area was 60 miles an hour and "Kennedy was probably right up at that figure."
Payne said Kennedy told him he first spotted the vehicle about 100 yards from the crossing. The vehicle then had all appearances of a car preparing to stop.
With the whistle of the train blowing, Kennedy said he continued to the crossing. But when he was about 150 feet away he realized the auto was not going to stop.
Both husbands are automatic cotton machine operators at the ranch. Suffering from shock, they were taken to the homes of relatives.
The westbound freight continued on its way to Los Angeles about two hours after the tragedy.

Arizona Daily Sun Flagstaff 1960-11-22