Newaygo, MI Truck Into River, Sep 1949
TRUCK BRAKES FAIL -- SIX DROWN.
BALDWIN FARM HANDS HURLED INTO STREAM.
BODIES RECOVERED BY SEA SCOUTS; VEHICLE PLUNGES FROM BRIDGE.
Newaygo, Mich., Sept. 18 -- (AP) -- A truck loaded with Negro farm workers plunged through a bridge railing into the Muskegon River here today, drowning at least six.
On the word of the 13 known survivors, two men and four women were tentatively identified as the victims.
FOSTER LYERSON, about 42.
JESSE JAMES, about 40.
WILLIE MAE BARNETT, about 20.
And two women known to the survivors only as
"the WHITE sisters."
The accident occurred about 7 a.m. when the truck carrying 19 persons was enroute from Baldwin to the onion fields at Grant, Mich.
The truck approaching Newaygo from the north, failed to negotiate a sharp turn at the foot of a hill approaching the bridge. The careening vehicle ripped off 25 feet of the bridge railing and plunged into deep backwaters above the Newaygo Dam.
WILLIE JONES, 44, driver of the vehicle, told state police his brakes failed as he slowed down to make the curve at the foot of the hill. JONES said he tried to throw the truck gears in reverse in an effort to stop.
The clashing of the gears was heard by survivors just before the hurtling truck ripped through the bridge guard rail.
The six bodies were recovered by Sea Scout Leader Don Terrill, and two former Scouts, Del Meade, Jr., and Milton Ames, who were at the Newaygo Sea Scout base, about 200 yards from the scene of the crash.
The survivors climbed up the banks of the river as the three dragged for and recovered the bodies. Two were taken to the Fremong Hospital for treatment, the others returned to Baldwin.
Sheriff Robert Hart of Newaygo County continued dragging operations.
News Palladium Benton Harbor Michigan 1949-09-19