Williamstown, OH Truck And Pickup Collision, Feb 1968


Findlay, Ohio (AP) -- A carpenter, his wife and three of their children were only two miles from home Tuesday when the pickup truck they were riding in smashed headon into a semitrailer tractor.
All were killed along with the semi driver in the fiery collision on a straight stretch of U.S. 30N about 1 1/2 miles east of Williamstown.
The crash orphaned seven other children in the carpenter's family.
Killed were A. DALE RODABAUGH, 41; his wife, NORMA, 38, and three children, MELINDA, 5; LEAH, 3, and RYAN, 1, all of Rt. 1, Williamstown; and HERBERT D. PLAUGHER, 40, Garrett, Ind., driver of the semi.
The RODEBAUGH'S seven other children -- aged 6 to 20 -- were not with them.
PLAUGHER, formerly of Lima, Ohio, was still alive when authorities reached the scene. But rescuers were driven back by the fire and he died before he could be released, about two hours later.
The RODEBAUGHS were all riding in the cab of the pickup truck. MRS. RODABAUGH and RYAN were thrown out. All died instantly, either of burns or other injuries, authorities said.
The diesel fuel in the semi exploded, causing both vehicles to burst into flames. The impact of the crash was so tremendous that the cabs of both vehicles were doubled back under the trucks.
The semi cab was "almost completely flattened," said a Hancock County sheriff's deputy.
The huge semi carried the pickup about 100 yards before coming to a stop.
The Ohio Highway Patrol said the pickup truck apparently was left of the centerline on a two-lane section of the highway heavily traveled by big trucks. The crash occurred about a mile east of where the road becomes four lanes.
It was the worst traffic accident ever in Hancock County.
PLAUGHER, who leaves a widow and six children, was a driver for the Food Marketing Corp., a wholesale food outlet in Fort Wayne, Ind.
PLAUGHER'S funeral arrangements were being made by the Sifert Funeral Home in Lima. PLAUGHER lived in Lima until two years ago.

The Advocate Newark Ohio 1968-02-07