Hopewell, VA Bus Plunges Through Open Drawbridge, Dec 1935

Safety Device Automatic.
In answer to hundreds of frantic calls to the company offices, attendants declared that several hundred tickets had been sold this morning to Christmas travelers and that it would be difficult to ascertain the destination of those riding the ill-fated vehicle.
In saying that thirteen persons boarded the bus here, the company offices said this would not include children under five years of age who are not “fare” passengers.

In explaining the safety gates mechanism, A. H. PETTIGREW, senior assistant, Virginia highway engineer said:
"When the operator starts the machinery to motion, the gates come down and the warning gong sounds approximately a minute before the draw starts to open. The whole thing is automatic and cannot vary from this procedure."
Grief and despair was written in the faces of some who stood in the snow and cold, awaiting the confirmation of the loss of relatives and friends.
For a few there was joy, tempered, however, with the realization of the suffering of others. These were the relatives and friends of several persons, who were aboard the bus in spite of previous plans to ride the ill-fated carrier.
FRANCIS DUPONT LAZENBY, 19, a student at the University of Virginia, had notified his parents he would arrive on that bus. Several hours after the tragedy, his nearly frantic mother met him at the door of their home. He had been late at the terminal and had come by a later bus.
LOREN BURROWS, son of RAYMOND S. BURROWS, manager of the Hopewell plant of the Tubize Chattilon corporation, had notified his father he would return to Hopewell from New York. Tonight, MR. BURROWS, who earlier had expressed grave concern for his son's safety, received word from LOREN. He had changed his mind about his visit home.
Through the lanes of tired workers, Salvation Army lasses and women of the Red Cross passed in distributing hot soup and coffee.
Fires were built in empty oil drums at either end of the bridge.
EVERTS, the leading diver, suffered a cut hand on the jagged glass of the bus windows as he labored in the murky depths to fasten cables to the sunken machine.

RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 22 - (AP) - By missing their bus two men missed death today in the drowning of passengers and driver of the Greyhound bus in the Appomattox river near Hopewell.
WILLIAM BOURNE, a copy reader in the news department of the Times-Dispatch, missed the death destined bus by five minutes because he overslept.
The name of the other man to escape was not learned. L. R. PATTERSON, taxi cab driver, said he picked him up on a street corner this morning, but arrived at the terminal too late to catch the bus.
The cab driver then drove his passenger to a railway station. There the man learned of the fate of the bus passengers, and rushing out to the cab stand gave PATTERSON a dollar.

The Charleston Gazette West Virginia 1935-12-23


Inquiry Opens In Bus' River Plunge; 14 Die

Virginia Crash Driver May Have Died Before Drop Through Bridge

Eight Unidentified

Machine Falls in 30 Feet of Icy Water; Brakes Found Set

Hopewell, Va., Dec. 23 (AP) - An inquest was ordered today for Thursday in the deaths of 14 persons who lost their lives in the plunge of a bus through an open drawbridge into the Appomattox River yesterday.
A sixth body, meanwhile, was tentatively identified as MRS. T. H. FAIRFIX, of Superior, Wis. Eight other bodies recovered from the bus after it was raised from 30 feet of water awaited identification.
Five of those who died in the river's icy water were identified before daybreak today as Virginians and North Carolinians.
Mayor D. L. ELDER and Commonwealth's Attorney JOHN GOODMAN agreed this morning that the inquest would be a mere "formality" in the full investigation as to why the Atlantic Greyhound bus smashed through a safety rail and into the draw which had been opened for a tug and barge.

Continued on page 4