Tucson, AZ Bus And Truck Collision, Dec 1959




Tucson -- A Greyhound bus collided head-on with a truckload of cattle in the predawn darkness yesterday, 7 miles east of here, killing nine persons and injuring 31.
Six of the injured were in critical condition last night in Tucson hospitals. No Arizonans were involved.
Nine of the injured were treated and released at hospitals yesterday.
The huge truck-trailer rig was on the wrong side of U.S. 80 at the time of the crash, highway patrolmen said, it was traveling an estimated 70 mph.
The truck was hauling 67 steers from Jackson, Miss., to Arlington, Ariz. The Scenicruiser bus, with 39 persons aboard, was east-bound from Los Angeles to New Orleans.
A 5-year-old girl was the only passenger to escape injury.
Among the dead were a 7-year-old boy, the bus driver, and the only two occupants of the cattle truck.
Lieutenant B. D. Velasco, commander of the state patrol's southern district, said he thinks the truck driver dozed at the wheel. The truck had been moving practically nonstop on its trip from Mississippi.
"This is the worst accident in Western Greyhound history," said D. D. Gould, general claims director of Western Greyhound in San Francisco.
Survivors aboard the bus agreed that driver BARNEY BOYD, of El Paso, slammed on his brakes and veered to the left just before the collision.
Nine ambulances, every one available in Tucson, rushed to the scene. Fire trucks also were sent, when spilled diesel fuel posed a fire threat.
Dozens of law enforcement officers converged with flashlights and lanterns in the 4:15 a.m. darkness.
The ambulances shuttled dead and injured to five hospitals.
Sergeant Jim Hart, a highway patrolman, was the second persons to reach the scene.
"It was a gruesome sight," said Hart. "I thought I had seen everything in the way of horrible wrecks."
"There were five persons thrown outside the bus. The first four I came across were horribly mangled to death."
"The only one of the five still alive outside the bus had two broken legs. I heard screams and groans from inside."
"Dead cattle, apparently yearling calves, were strewn all over the place. There was one even on top of the bus."
Hart said the front of the bus "looked as if a keg of dynamite had been set off inside."
Hart and a sheriff's deputy pried their way through the wreckage to reach an 18-month-old baby who was dangling from the side of the bus.
A suitcase had trapped the baby atop a woman's lap.
The woman, who was not the baby'd mother, was unable to move. She had two broken legs.
The young mother of the baby, MRS. CAROL REED, of Pensacola, Fla., was dead. The baby remained in critical condition last night.
Hart said rescue workers squeezed through bus windows to reach the littered aisle. Fifteen of the injured were handed through windows and placed in waiting ambulances.

Continued on Page 2.