Los Banos, CA Two Car Collision, Apr 1952
8 KILLED, 5 HURT IN TWO-CAR COLLISION.
SIX OF THE VICTIMS PERISH WHEN WRECKAGE BURNS; PACHECO PASS HIGHWAY BLOCKED BY CRASH.
Los Banos, April 26. - Eight persons were killed and five seriously injured in a flaming, two-car collision last night on State Route 152, the Pacheco Pass Road, 10 miles west of here.
Two of the dead were identified as PAUL COPE, 50, a salesman of 801 Silver Avenue, San Francisco, and his son, PETER, 12. They were in a station wagon in which four of the injured also were riding.
The other six dead, all badly burned, were in a car driven by LARRY ESPINOZA, employee on a ranch near Tracy. They were identified by Merced County Deputy Coroner Joel Whitehurst as ESPINOZA, who was 30; his three children, MARJORIE ANN, 5; LARRY, JR., 4; and PEARL, 3; his mother-in-law, MRS. ABELINA CRUZ, 52, and sister-in-law, ARELIA CRUZ, 15, both of Salinas.
Only survivor in the ESPINOZA car was another son, BENNY, 1 1/2, who was thrown clear before the cars burst into flames. He suffered shock.
The accident happened as ESPINOZA was returning to the bedside of his wife, Carmen, who had given birth to a boy at Tracy Community Memorial Hospital yesterday morning. ESPINOZA had driven to Salinas to pick up her mother and sister.
The four injured from the COPE car were identified by attendants at the Los Banos City Clinic and Emergency Hospital as COPE'S wife, AGNES, 39, head injuries; his daughter, PAMELA, 8, head injuries; another daughter, MICHELE, 2 1/2, head injuries; and CLAIBOURNE TATUM, a designer, of the Silver Avenue address, hear injuries and burns.
Details of the mishap were lacking, but highway patrolmen said that ESPINOZA'S car apparently skidded into the path of COPE'S station wagon and was hit broadside.
Only witnesses were, three Moffett Field naval aid station sailors who arrived at the scene in time to pull the injured from the flaming wreckage.
The highway patrol report on the mishap said the sailors, Joseph M. Clark, Jimmy L. Paxton and Thomas L. Newmark,
"worked until they were completely exhausted trying to save lives."
Traffic on the highway, heavily traveled in Friday nights, was blocked for nearly two hours.
Oakland Tribune California 1952-04-26