Willmar, MN Two Auto Collision, Aug 1956


Willmar, Minn. (AP) - The tragic crash of two cars carrying eight touring vacationists brought death to seven of them Thursday in Minnesota's
worst traffic accident of 1956.
A Kansas City family - mother, father and two children - using a car for the first time in many years of vacations, was wiped out.
There was only one survivor from among the two young Aberdeen, S.D., couples in the second machine.
"It was the worst I've ever seen," said Roy Olson, operator of a café at the intersection of U.S. 71 and State 7, 12 miles south of Willmar, where the cars smashed together with an earth-shaking impact.
Dead were CHARLES HENDLEY, 49, his 42-year-old wife, ELIZABETH, and their two children, JUDITH, 16, and CHARLES, JR., 11, Kansas City, and MR. and MRS. OWEN KERVIN each 34, and MRS. JOHN TRISH, 33, all of Aberdeen. JOHN TRISH was taken to a Willmar hospital in serious condition.
Today, hospital attendants reported TRISH in fair condition and said the crash survivor rested comfortably overnight. He suffered a dislocated shoulder and multiple body bruises, but apparently escaped internal injuries.
Orphaned were four Kervin children - Owen Scott, 8; Joel, 7; Mark, 6, and Mary Beth, 2.
The children had been staying with a family friend, Chet McPhee of Aberdeen, while the Kervins were using McPhee's car for the vacation jount.
Motherless after MRS. TRISH'S death were her four children - John Thomas, 9; Terry, 7; Nancy, 4, and Stephen Mark, 1 1/2. Relatives said MRS. TRISH had been expecting another child. TRISH is an oil salesman while KERVIN was manager of Aberdeen's Veterans of Foreign Wars club.
The HENDLEY family was returning to Kansas City from a two week fishing trip into the northern United States and Canada. The South Dakota couples were bound for a holiday weekend in the Twin Cities.
Relatives said HENDLEY, a car repairman for the Frisco railroad, was driving the family car on vacation for the first time. He had usually used his railroad pass for such trips in his 20 years with the road.

Winona Daily News Minnesota 1956-08-24