Auburndale, FL Two Car Head On Crash, Jan 1974


Auburndale (AP) - Seven members of one family, including five children, were killed Saturday when a speeding car smashed head-on into their Volkswagen bus as they were returning home from a drive-in theater.
THe driver of the car was also killed and three other children seriously injured.
"It was the worst accident I've ever worked," said ambulance operator Raymond Varnador. "When I arrived some of the children were screaming. I was necessary to pull dead children off live children to get the survivors out of the wreckage."
Sgt. William Thompson of the Auburndale Police Department identified the victims of the bus as DANA SMITH, 28, of Winter Haven; his wife, THERESA, 28; and children BUNNY ANNE, 11; ROSE CALITORE, 11; RONALD JOSEPH, 5; MICHAEL, 3; and VANESSA LEE, 1.
Also killed was MICHAEL LABUN, 22, of Auburndale, the lone occupant of the car, Thompson said.
Three other SMITH children were hospitalized in nearby Winter Haven. DANA, JR., 10, was listed in poor condition in the intensive care unit Saturday afternoon while DAVID, 8, and ANTHONY, 8, were reported in fair condition.
Police said some of the older SMITH children were adopted but they did not know how many or which ones.
Thompson said LABUN "was at fault" in the grinding crash which occurred shortly after midnight as the two vehicles rounded a curve on a narrow, two-lane highway on the outskirts of this small Central Florida town.
"He was on the wrong side of the road going at a high speed," Thompson said.
Eyewitnesses said some of the children were pinned in the wreckage and others were thrown out of the bus.
Auburndale is about five miles southwest of the SMITHS' hometown and about 40 miles south of Orlando.

News Press Fort Myers Florida 1974-01-06