Argenta, IL Two Car Collision Kills Five, Sep 1959
RECKLESS DRIVING CHARGED IN CRASH THAT TOOK FIVE LIVES.
By The Associated Press.
Only one member of the GENE SIDERS family of Argenta is alive today following a two-car crash Saturday night on Route 47-48 one-half mile southwest of Argenta.
BURT SIDERS, 8, is in fair condition today in the Decatur and Macon County Hospital.
His father, mother, sister and brother are believed to be the victims of a highway race.
The dead are:
GENE SIDERS, 34, a state trooper;
MRS. MARY SIDERS, 32, his wife;
LYNETTE SIDERS, 6;
and JEFF SIDERS, 3, their children;
HERMAN L. SEBENS, 27, Monticello.
MRS. SIDERS died at 12:45 a.m. Sunday in Decatur and Macon County Hospital. Her daughter, LYNETTE, died there six hours later.
MR. SIDERS and his son, JEFF, and HERMAN SEBENS, were dead on arrival at St. Mary's Hospital shortly after the accident at 10 p.m. Saturday.
Held In Investigation.
GLENN SEBENS, 25, Monticello, brother of HERMAN SEBENS, killed in the crash, is held in county jail on a reckless driving charge while authorities investigate a report of a race preceding the crash.
It is believed that cars driven by GLENN and HERMAN SEBENS were racing when HERMAN SEBENS' car crashed head-on with the one driven by SIDERS.
Authorities said that GLENN SEBENS was violating conditions of his parole by driving a car. He has been convicted of forgery and larceny by bailee.
Milt Walden, a deputy sheriff, said that GLENN SEBENS' car matched the description given him by three youths as one of two racing side-by-side through Argenta just before the crash.
The youths are Chad Hubbard, 17, and Bob Fisher, 17, both of Monticello, and Jim Root, 16, of Cisco.
The boys arrived at the scene moments after the crash.
According to Hubbard, two cars apparently driven by the SEBENS brothers were traveling side-by-side trying to pass one another. Root said the two even went into the curve south of Argenta beside each other although they appeared to slow down.
Moments later as the youths' car rounded the same curve they saw the flames of the crash.
GLENN SEBENS told police his brother had attempted to pass him immediately before the accident.
He said he thought his brother had seen the SIDERS car coming and pulled in behind. He said he was traveling 65 miles an hour or
"maybe a little faster" when the accident occurred.
In a statement to Robert L. Cole, assistant state's attorney, GLENN SEBENS said:
"HERMAN was pulling out. He wasn't exactly up to me. He was on the side. That's when I turned on my brights and saw a car coming and gave him the dims. Then it seemed HERMAN'S car pulled back of me."
After the accident, he said, he stopped his car quickly, turned around and returned to the scene after some motor trouble.
GLENN SEBENS, HERMAN SEBENS and a cousin, JOHN SEBENS, were all driving to Decatur in separate cars, leaving Monticello at 9 p.m.
GLENN SEBENS said he had three or four beers between the time he got off work and the drive to Decatur.
Sheriff's Deputy Walden said bodies were lying all around when he arrived at the wreck.
"You knew they were dead. The little boy was all crumpled in the front seat. He looked just like he was asleep."
"The older little boy, kept crying, "Where's my daddy?"
"You know when it's adults that's one thing - but kids ...."
Decatur Daily Review Illinois 1959-09-14