Somerset, KY Auto And Train Crash, Jul 1957

8 TEENS DIE AS TRAIN RAMS OLD CAR.

Somerset, Ky. (AP) - A day of pleasure riding in a rattletrap car ended in death on a railroad crossing for eight youngsters yesterday.

The youths had been riding around in the 1941 model car all day.
Only minutes before the Southern Railway freight hit them, one boy, scared by what he called "some reckless driving," had left the auto.

Dead were:
CHARLES ALLEN, 13;
his two sisters, FRANCES, 14; and JOSEPHINE, 15;
BETTY BRAY, 15;
JAMES RICHARDS, 16;
JAMES CALHOUN, 12;
CHARLES SIMMONS, 16;
and RONALD DAVIS, 17.
All were from Somerset.

Sheriff Gilmore Phelps quoted 15-year-old DONALD as saying he had been riding with the other youngsters but became frightened when some of the boys began wrestling to see who would drive.

Phelps said witnesses told him the car approached the crossing at about 35 to 40 miles an hour with a flat tire and a broken tie rod.

The car, dragged nearly half a mile by the train, burst into flames.
Five of the youths were pinned inside. Three were thrown clear.
Coroner Kenneth Gibbs said the train's crew told him the freight was going about 50 miles an hour when it hit the car.

Phelps said an investigation will be held Friday to determine if any negligence was involved.

The youngsters - all close friends - had gone swimming earlier in the day and spent several hours "just driving around," Phelps said.

The three girls had been picked up after a church meeting just minutes before the accident.

The Times Hammond Indiana 1957-07-22