Columbia, MO (near) Automobile Collision, Aug 1959
11 PERSONS KILLED, 8 INJURED IN AUTO CRASH NEAR COLUMBIA.
14 WERE RIDING IN ONE OF CARS, PATROL BELIEVES.
TRAGEDY SETS RECORD TOLL FOR AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT IN MISSOURI.
Columbia, Mo. (AP) -- Two cars smashed head-on Sunday night in a rending crash that killed 11 persons, a record toll for an automobile accident in Missouri.
Eight others were injured in the two cars. Six of the dead were adults and five were children.
Three other persons were shaken up. They were in a third car that skidded into the wreckage eight miles east of Columbia on U.S. Highway 40.
One wrecked car was owned by G. W. EDDY of White Hall, Ill., and the other by LeROY THOMPSON, 31, of Richmond, Mo.
The patrol said information it pieced together indicated there were 14 persons in the THOMPSON car and five in the EDDY automobile.
Officers struggled through the night trying to identify the victims.
Bodies and personal belongings were so tangled and scattered it was impossible to tell how many and who were in each car.
The injured in Boone County Hospital were either hurt too badly or were too young to help with identifications.
Slowly, by contacting relatives at Richmond and in Illinois, the Highway Patrol began writing the casualty list.
Tentatively identified as dead:
GUS W. EDDY, about 60, White Hall, Ill.
MRS. HELEN EDDY, about 60, his wife.
BILLY JUNIOR EDDY, 27, White Hall, Ill., a son.
DENISE EDDY, 4, daughter of Mrs. Dave Thomas, Springfield, Ill.
These four victims were in one car.
Those riding in the other car who were killed were MRS. JESSIE THOMPSON, Richmond, Mo.; a woman believed to be MRS. DELBERT THOMPSON, St. Louis, her mother-in-law; two unidentified girls about 12 or 13 years old, and three infants, believed to be DONNA MARIE THOMPSON, 2; LINDA KAY THOMPSON, 3, and PATRICIA KAY THOMPSON, a foster daughter of MRS. JESSIE THOMPSON and her husband, LeROY.
JUDY EDDY, 17, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Eddy, was injured critically in the accident and underwent surgery this morning.
Those in the THOMPSON car who were injured were THOMPSON, a Burlington railroad employe at Richmond; LAVERNE E. THOMPSON, 7; WAYNE L. THOMPSON, 10; and VIRGINIA V. THOMPSON, 4, all children of the LeROY THOMPSONS, and RUSTY THOMAS, believed to be a grandson of MRS. DELBERT THOMPSON.
All of the THOMPSONS were believed out of danger.
At Richmond, friends said THOMPSON, his wife, JESSIE, 33, and eight of their children had started to St. Louis on vacation.
The crash occurred on a flat, straight section of road in clear weather.
The Highway Patrol quoted a witness as saying one car went off on the shoulder, swerved back across the pavement and hit the other one head-on.
Motors of both cars were driven back into the front seats. The EDDY car stopped on the shoulder and the THOMPSON car halted on the pavement.
The third car, occupied by JEROME J. GANTNER, 50, Pilot Grove, Mo., his wife and their daughter, bumped into the wreckage. The GANTNERS were not hospitalized.
Capt. J. A. Berglund of the Highway Patrol said the toll of 11 dead is the worst in the patrol's records for a two-car accident. He said the GANTNER car did not figure in the deaths. Berglund said a highway accident involving a truck carrying soldiers during World War II killed eight persons.
Although the toll was the highest for an automobile mishap, it ranks second among all highway accidents in Missouri. The worst traffic accident took place near Hazelgreen of Aug. 10, 1941. Fourteen soldiers were killed when two trucks collided.
Moberly Monitor Index Missouri 1959-08-17