Redwood City, CA Motorcycle Racing Accident, Aug 1952


Redwood City, Calif., Aug. 23. -- JOSEPH E. HOSTETLER, 23, of 468 N. Third Street, San Jose, was fatally injured last night when the mtorcycle he was riding collided with another during a race at the Belmont Stadium.
The crash happened about 10:15 p.m., and the youthful driver died shortly before midnight at Sequoia Hospital, Redwood City, of a fractured skull and other head injuries. His body was taken to the Patterson & O'Connell chapel, San Mateo, where services are pending.
California highway patrolmen termed the accident a freak and blamed the rider's death on the fact that his helmet fell off in the crash, leaving his head unprotected.
They said spectators described the race as a hard-fought one. Just before the fatal crash, a mortorcycle riddn by NORMAN SMITH, 19, of San Jose, passed HOSTETLER'S on the outside in the southeast turn of the track. HOSTETLER'S cycle appeared to drift into SMITH'S on the turn, and both went down in the crash. SMITH escaped injury.
The victim finished third in a race during June at the same track and also won the 10-mile national amateur championship at Bay Meadows in June.
Ray Weser, American Motorcycle association referee, terme the accident "an unbelievable freak accident." Some fans reported that HOSTETLER and SMITH had been indulging in "horse-play" for two or three laps and that their machines had hit each other two or three times previous to the fatal crash.

San Mateo Times California 1952-08-23