Eustace, TX Car And Pick Up Truck Collision, July 1972


Eustace, (UPI) -- Eight persons were killed and seven others injured Friday in the collision of a pickup truck carrying 14 vegetable pickers home from work with a car on a two-lane stretch of U.S. 175 in East Texas.
A third vehicle rammed into the rear of the pickup truck seconds after the first collision. The truck was broken in half.
"The back of the pickup truck was off the highway down an embankment," said DAN DWELLE of nearby Athens. "When the car and truck hit, it sent bodies flying out onto the highway."
The victims included a LaRue, couple and their 18-year-old son who had gone with 11 friends to pick peas for an East Texas produce wholesaler.
The LaRue family was tentatively identified as MR. and MRS. JACK COFER and their son, DONNELL. Their bodies were pinned in the severed cab of the truck.
The driver of the car which hit the truck headon, was killed. He was FRANK EDWARDS, JR., 51, of Dallas.
The other victims, all occupants of the pickup, included RUBY FRATER, 48, LaRue; JOHN FRANKLIN FRATER, 45, LaRue; BUDDY WILLIAMS, 41, Athens, and DARLENE ALLEN, 17, LaRue.
The injured included two other COFER children. None of the injured was listed as older than 14.
"Two vehicles were totally demolished," said LARRY HOBSON of the Texas Department of Public Safety at Athens, 15 miles from the wreck.
"The third wasn't too bad and the third car wasn't injured."
The dead and injured were shuttled to Athens and Tyler in six ambulances -- The total number of emergency vehicles available in the rural county.

San Antonio Light Texas 1972-07-29