Sacramento, CA Auto And Train Crash, Feb 1967


Sacramento (AP) - A husband, his wife and seven of their children died on a Washington's Birthday holiday outing yesterday in a collision between a freight train and their station wagon.
The victims were identified by the coroner as HERBERT HILL, 42 year old retired Air Force Sergeant; his wife, ANNIE, 38, and seven of their 12 children.
The children who died were identified as DEBORAH, 3; MICHAEL, 4; TIMOTHY, 6; EDWARD, 7; CAROLINE, 8; HERBERT, JR. and DOUGLAS, each 10.
Their home, in nearby Broderick, was only about eight miles from the accident scene, a marked crossing in south Sacramento, the coroner said. No one else was in the station wagon.
"This is the worst traffic accident in Sacramento County's history," said Coroner George Nielsen.
All nine bodies were recovered, amid grim testimony of the balmy day's planned activities. California Highway Patrol officers found fishing gear, a picnic basket, a child's school work and a broken cap pistol strewn in the wreckage.
Five members of the Hill family, all daughters, were absent from the outing. They were a married daughter, Mrs. Diana McCall of Sacramento, and Catherine, 16, Delores, 15, Gwendoline, 13, and Patricia, 12.
Signals at the crossing were working, residents and workers in the area said, but there were no bars or gates.
"It sound like a train smashing into a paste board box when they hit," said one of the few witnesses, a nearby service station attendant.
"The car was heading west," the attendant said. "The train was going fairly fast, as they usually do through here."
Officers were unable to say why the car, caught full force by the train, had been on the tracks. The train was reported heading north at the marked crossing.

The San Bernardino County Sun California 1967-02-23