Plant City, FL Auto And Train Collision, Sep 1953


Plant City, Fla., Sept. 7 (UP) - Seven women motorists died today in the collision of their car with a passenger train near here in one of the Labor Day holiday's worst single automobile accidents.
The Seaboard Railway train struck the car squarely in the middle, killing six of the women instantly. A seventh died 30 minutes later in a Tampa hospital.
State patrolman B. B. Smith said 19-year-old PERLA MAE LASTINGER was driving and apparently stopped at the railway crossing 10 miles south of here before the front of the car was completely over the track. The engineer, J. F. Gleason, 52, said his train was going about 50 miles an hour and he blew the whistle when he saw the car approach the crossing.
But Gleason said MISS LASTINGER started forward instead of backward and he could not avoid hitting the car.
The victims were MISS LASTINGER, the driver who lived until she was taken to a hospital; MRS. LILA HUNTER, 68; her daughter, MRS. ALENE TAYLOR, 48; MRS. TAYLOR'S daughter, LINDA, 11; and twin daughters, KATY and MATTIE, 18, all of Durant, Fla.; and MISS LASTINGER'S sister, JOYCE, 14, of Plant City.
The tragedy brought Florida's death toll for weekend accidents to 13. Since 6 p.m. Friday, a United Press survey showed two others died in traffic accidents, one was killed in the crash of a light plane and miscellaneous accidents took two lives.

Panama City News-Herald Florida 1953-09-08