Norristown, PA Train And Interurban Crash, July 1942



Norristown, Pa., July 9 (AP) - Ten persons were killed and 22 injured in the head-on crash of a crowded interurban passenger car and a freight trolley late yesterday on a curve three and one-half miles north of here.
The heavy, high-floored freight, running down grade, literally sliced through nearly a third of the passenger car which was en route from Philadelphia to Allentown, Pa., with a rush-hour load.
Several of the injured were reported in critical condition at Norristown hospitals. A Philadelphia Red Cross unit which rushed blood plasma for transfusions was credited with saving six lives.

The Dead:
HENRY H. STRUNK, 42, Allentown, motorman of the passenger car.
MRS. MARTHA, CLAIR, 64, Ambler, Pa.
MISS MARY McCOY, 22, Washington Square, Pa.
MRS. BERTHA THOMPSON, 50, Line Lexington, Pa.
MRS. MOLLIE DIETZ, 22, Souderton, Pa.
HARRY SHIFFER, 47, Allentown, Pa.
MISS CATHERINE L. NASE, 23, Lansdale, Pa.
HENRY T. MOYER, 46, Souderton, Pa.
MISS VIRGINIA WIEKEL, 19, North Wales, Pa.
WILLIAM M. KELLEY, 18, North Wales, Pa.
The Lehigh Valley Transit Company which operates the rail line announced it was investigating to determine the cause of the crash.

Running Under Orders.
GROVER S. MECKLEY, 54, Allentown, motorman of the freight trolley, said he first saw the passenger car round the curve about 50 yards away on the single track. He threw his car into reverse and ran toward the back, escaping with light injuries.
"I was running under orders," he said. "I don't think it was my fault."
MECKLEY was held in Norristown jail for questioning by Coroner Winslow J. Rushong, although no charges were filed against him.
Paul Stoudt, 39, was motoring near the rail line and saw the crash.
"In the front part of the car almost down to the middle, men and women were lying on top of each other, screaming and yelling," he said. "It was terrible. Blood was everywhere and we could not move them because they were wedged so tightly under the seats."
Ambulance crews worked more than an hour removing the dead and injured to hospitals.

Stopped At Siding.
Hubert Harze, 35, of Lansdale, said the passenger trolley on which he was riding stopped at a siding about a quarter-mile from the crash scene.
"The conductor waited for another car traveling south to pass," he said, "and I felt sure he made a telephone call for instructions before he proceeded."

Gettysburg Times Pennsylvania 1942-07-09


Norristown, (AP) - Another passenger injured in the head-on collision of two interurban trolleys died today, bringing the total dead to 11, while authorities said the crash was caused by the failure of a motorman to obey running orders.
The latest victim was JACOB HOLLENBACH, 27, of Norristown, who died of chest and head injuries and a broken leg. Twenty-one others were injured when the crowded Philadelphia-to-Allentown passenger trolley collided Wednesday with a heavy freight car.
Police announced they had found a dispatch order on the body of HENRY H. STRUNK, motorman of the passenger car, which they said indicated he was to have waited on a siding for a southbound trolley and the freight car to pass.
STRUNK, 42, Allentown, who was fatally injured, waited for the passenger car but did not wait for the freight, they said.

The Express Lock Haven Pennsylvania 1942-07-10