Yakima, WA Multiple Vehicle Crash, July 1952


Yakima, Wash., July 12. (AP) -- A spectacular crash of a gasoline-laden truck and trailer rig, a pickup truck and an automobile claimed nine lives in a flaming highway pyre late yesterday.
Only the father of a family of eight survived -- and he was in critical condition in a Yakima hospital with multiple chest injuries.
He is LEE M. JOHNSON, 34, who was bringing his wife and six small children back from a swimming party on the Naches River. The wife and five of the children were killed outright in the blazing collision. The sixth child, ROBERT, 5, died today. Other child victims were KATHY, 2; CONNIE, 3; GARY, 4; JEAN, 7, and LEE, JR., 8.
Also killed in the crash were the gasoline-truck driver, MERRILL ERICKSON, 28, of Seattle, and a man tentatively identified as DONALD C. CAMPBELL, 23, Selah, Wash.
JOHNSON was driving a pickup truck. Yakima County Dep. Pros. Don J. Clark said the machine loaded with the JOHNSON family apparently entered the highway directly in front of the gas truck, operated by Eastern Truck Lines.

Long Beach Press-Telegram California 1952-07-12