Belle Glade, FL Car Plunges Into Canal, Sep 1958


Belle Glade (AP) - An automobile carrying seven persons to Valdosta, Ga., to attend a funeral, overturned in a canal early Saturday, killing six of them.
Cpl. Register Windham of the Florida Highway Patrol said all in the automobile were Negroes and only a 13-year-old boy escaped death when the car left State Road 80 and went into the canal 13 miles east of Belle Glade.
WILLIE SMITH, 13, said his mother, IDA MAE SMITH, pushed him out of the automobile. She was one of the six who drowned or died when the car flipped over.
Others identified by the highway patrol were G. HICKS, driver of the car, MARGARET HICKS and ELIZABETH THOMPSON, 33.
One unidentified body of a man was pulled from the wreckage and another was recovered later from the waters of the canal.
Windham said alcohol was found in the car and there was evidence it was traveling at a high rate of speed.
The party apparently left Miami and went north of U.S. 441, then turned west on Highway 80 and planned to go up U.S. 27 toward Valdosta.
Trooper Tillman Sanders said identification was difficult because personal papers found on the bodies were soaked by rain and water in the canal. He said the accident apparently happened about 12:30 a.m., but no definite time had been established because no watches were found on the bodies.
It was one of south Florida's worst traffic accidents of the year to date. On Aug. 23 two automobiles collided in Dade County, killing seven persons. Four died in a Broward County collision last Wednesday and the Palm Beach County wreck Saturday brought the total to 17 in three crashes.

The News Tribune Fort Pierce Florida 1958-09-14