Las Vegas, NV (30 miles south) Pickup And Auto Crash, June 1961


Las Vegas, Nev., June 30 (UPI) - Eleven persons were killed Friday night when a pickup truck hurtling down the wrong side of a divided highway collided head-on with a station wagon 32 miles south of here, the Nevada Highway Patrol reported.
All nine members of a Big Creek, Calif., family riding in the station wagon - including five children - were killed. Two others in the pickup truck also died in the worst traffic accident in Nevada history.
Officers said the driver of the truck apparently mistook a "deceleration," or reduce speed sign, as one for left turns and entered the wrong lane of the divided highway.
Those killed in the station wagon included the driver, GEORGE M. GIBSON, about 35; his wife; his parents, WILBUR and STELLA GIBSON, both about 75; and their children, the bodies of two of whom were crammed behind seats and not discovered for some time.
Two others died in the wreckage of the pickup, which had a camper body. They were identified as the driver, LEO H. WATKINS, 52, Manhattan Beach, Calif., and his wife, FLORRIE, 49.
The only survivor of the crash, highway patrolmen said, was a dog in the station wagon. Another dog was killed.
Highway Patrol dispatcher Jerry Foster said a patrolman at the small town of Jean saw the pickup speed by him on Highway 91 on the wrong side of the road, but did not have a patrol car to give chase.
The Crash on the eve of the holiday came as the highway was clogged with traffic from Los Angeles and southern California bound for Las Vegas and Nevada's gambling resorts.

The Salt Lake Tribune Utah 1961-07-01