Ayer, MA Auto And Bus Collision, Mar 1941
FIVE KILLED IN AYER IDENTIFIED.
EARLY MORNING CRASH INVOLVES DEVENS TROOPS.
BUSSES RETURNING FROM LOWELL AND PRIVATE AUTO COLLIDE.
Ayer, March 5 (INS) -- Two men and three girls were instantly killed today when their automobile, careening over an ice-glazed highway, side-swiped one busload of Fort Devens selectees from Lowell and crashed head-on into a second from that city.
The men victims were identified as:
ANTHONY A. RIBNICK, 20, of Boston.
GERARD PELLETIER, 21, of Boston.
The girls were tentatively identified as:
RUTH STOLICK, 18, of Boston.
BLANCHE STOLICK, 16, of Boston.
OLGA PYTASHNIUK, of Boston.
Fifty-three citizen soldiers, 33 in one bus and 20 in the other, were shaken up by the crash but none was reported seriously injured.
The girls were not identified for several hours after the crash. First clue to thier identity came to Boston police when MRS. MARY STOLICK told authorities, after hearing news of the Ayer tragedy, that her two daughters and another girl had gone to Fort Devens to visit trainees there, and had not returned.
The crash occurred early in the morning on Route 116, a half mile from Route 2, the main highway leading through Ayer. The victims were bound back to Boston from Ayer.
So badly wrecked was the automobile that state police were unable to identify its make. The top of the car was shorn off and the impact of the crash with the second bus jammed the chassis beneath the bus.
The wreckage was dragged 150 feet by the bus into a ditch and against a stone wall.
RALPH W. BEATTLE of Lowell was the driver of the first bus, against which the automobile careened. The car then caromed crazily off that bus and crashed head-on into the second bus, 200 feet down the road. NORMAN L. EDWARDS of Graniteville was the operator of the second bus, police said.
State troopers and officers and ambulances from Fort Devens were summoned. Army trucks took the soldiers in the busses back to Fort Devens where medical aid was given those most severely shaken up.
Investigation of a license plate of the wrecked car revealed it was owned by ANDREW DUCHUCK of Boston. DUCHUCK, located at his home, told police he had loaned his automobile to friends. Identification of RIHNICK, believed to be the driver of the car, was made through his driving license.
The father of PELLETIER told police he knew his son had planned to go visiting at Fort Devens.
"I pleaded with him not to go because it was such bad driving," said the elder PELLETIER. "But he said he had made a date and had to go."
Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1941-03-05