Albany, IN Head On Automobile Crash, Apr 1951



Muncie, Ind., April 1. -- (AP) -- A head-on automobile collision killed five persons, including two small children and their parents, and injured two others shortly before dawn today on a highway near Muncie.
Coroner Eugene Eissman said he had evidence that the driver of one car was racing at high speed and that he had been drinking at a tavern at 4:45 A.M. and betting he could drink more beer and drive faster than anyone.
The coroner said he will submit his evidence to the grand jury. He told newsmen the accident was "a direct result" of failure "to clean up after-hour joints" -- taverns which sell liquor outside licensed hours.
The coroner said the boastful driver was CLAUDE E. SELVEY -- one of those killed. SELVEY, 29 years old, was a tinner of 4503 Twenty-eighth Avenue, Astoria, Long Island, N.Y. He had been visiting his brother, JOHN, 29, a Muncie factory worker. The brother was critically injured.
The four other persons killed were CHARLES ACKER, 29, a master mechanic at the Pierce Governor Works in Anderson, Ind.; his wife, HELEN, 29, and two of their children, CHARLES EDWARD, 7, and CONSTANCE ANN, 4. Another child, CAROL ACKER, 5, was critically injured.
The ACKERS lived on Rural Route 5, New Castle. The family had been visiting friends at Albany, Delaware County. They were on their wa home, with the children asleep in the back seat, when the crash occurred two miles west of Albany.
The coroner said a trucker told him he saw the SELVEY car and another car roar past the trucker at a high speed two miles from the scene of the accident. The other speeding car did not stop, the coroner said.
The trucker, J. H. TAWNEY, 1043 Young Avenue, N.E., Canton, Ohio, reported that he parked at the side of the road, waiting for a companion truck. The two cars "literally flew past me, going so fast they made my truck cab vibrate," he said.
State Trooper Robert Mercer said marks on the highway and a report by TAWNEY indicated that the SELVEY car was speeding east while four feet inside the westbound lane, and the ACKER car pulled off the road, apparently in an attempt by ACKER to avoid the collision.
The coroner said he has a witness who will tell the grand jury that the SELVEYS were drinking at a Muncie tavern at 4:45 A.M., 35 minutes before the collision, and that CLAUDE SELVEY said:
"We can drink more liquor and drive faster and best any of you to Albany."

The Terre Haute Star Indiana 1951-04-02