Hillsdale, WY Auto And Train Collision, Nov 1949


Hillsdale, Wyo., Nov. 26 (AP) - One of the worst accidents in Wyoming history Saturday wiped out a Hillsdale farm family.
The bodies of BERNARD W. HATCHER, 45, and his four children were scattered over one-third of a mile of prairie with the wreckage of their car, struck by a speeding mail train.
HATCHER had stopped his car at the Hillsdale grade crossing 19 miles east of Cheyenne. He waited for a westbound freight to pass, then started across the double track main line. An eastbound Union Pacific train, traveling close to 75 mph, crashed into the car.

Die Instantly.
The engineer, E. L. Copp, Sr., Cheyenne, riding the opposite side of the cab, said he didn't even see the HATCHER auto. Fireman John Mullan spotted it, but too late to avert the tragedy.
HATCHER and three of the four children
- EDNA, 15; JANICE, 13; and NORMAN, 11 - were killed instantly. The fourth child - LOUISE, 16 - was still alive when the first persons reached the scene, but died within an hour.

Fire Claims Others.
HATCHER'S wife and another child were killed in a fire several years ago. Hatcher's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard F. Hatcher, and five brothers, all of Hillsdale, and two sisters survive.
The wreckage was scattered over a 625-yard area. Bits of seat stuffing and pieces of clothing fluttered from strips of metal strewn across the prairie. The 250-lb. engine block from the auto was hurled 184 feet over a ditch embankment.
HATCHER'S body was found 126 feet from the crossing. Only EDNA'S body was found in the bulk of the wreckage itself.
Ten trains were delayed two hours by the accident which raised Wyoming's highway death toll for 1949 to 129.

The Salt Lake Tribune Utah 1949-11-27