Elburn, IL Tractor Trailer And Auto Crash, Nov 1960


Elburn, Ill. (AP) - TOMMY CHIDESTER has no way of knowing it - he's only 1 and busy fighting a virus infection - but when he gets out of the hospital his mother and dad won't be waiting for him.
Neither will his brothers, DICK and ROBIN, nor his sisters, RAMONA and KIM. And he'll never see grandmother THOMAS again.
A highway accident made him an orphan and took the lives of all of his immediate family Friday night.
The family, heading for Elburn and home from Tommy's Aurora hospital, met sudden and violent death when a huge semi-trailer truck jackknifed and toppled on the car, crushing it and its seven occupants.
The accident occurred on Illinois 47, three miles south of this small community in northern Illinois' Kane County. The victims were Tommy's parents, RICHARD CHIDESTER, 29, and EVELYN, 25; his brothers, RICHARD, JR., 8, and ROBIN, 3; his sisters, RAMONA, 6, and KIM, 2, and his maternal grandmother, DOROTHY THOMAS, 44, of Albia, Iowa.
The car was a tangle of steel. All were killed instantly.
The truck driver, Orin Scheer, 21, of Manhattan, Ill., told state troopers his vehicle first collided with a car in front of CHIDESTER'S, jackknifed and turned over atop the CHIDESTER car.
The occupants of the second car, John Popenhagen, 21; his wife, RITA, 20; and their 7-month-old child, KAY, of Aurora, Colo., were not seriously injured.
Police still are piecing together the details. But it will be years before Tommy Chidester understands it all.

Delaware County Daily Times Chester Pennsylvania 1960-11-12