Williamston, NC Three Car Wreck Kills Nine, Oct 1965


Williamston, N.C. -- (UPI) -- Nine persons died in a three car wreck near Williamston in Martin County. In that accident, eight persons in one car died.
The crash occurred Sunday on U.S. 17, eight miles east of Williamston. The state's road fatality toll climbed to 1,214 in the weekend mishap.
EIght of the victims were killed instantly in the crash and a ninth died at Beaufort County Memorial Hospital at Washington, N.C., as a result of the wreck described by State Trooper Fred Patton, an 11-year veteran, as "the very worst I've ever seen."
All the victims were Negroes.
Officers said a car driven by SAMUEL JOHNSON, 26, of Plymouth, attempted to pass a vehicle driven by JAMES CARLTON HIGHSMITH, 16, of Williamston. The JOHNSON car sideswiped the HIGHSMITH vehicle, continued for about 100 feet in the left lane and crashed head-on into the third car, driven by JAMES PEELE, 30, Rt. 3, Williamston.
Eight persons in the PEELE car, including three children, were killed. JOHNSON'S wife, MARJORIE JOHNSON, 25, was the lone victim in the other two cars. Her husband was injured but there were no injuries in the HIGHSMITH car.
Killed in the PEELE car were the driver, his wife CATHERINE, 30, and their six-year-old son DONALD. Other victims in the same car included LARRY WILSON GRIFFIN, 23, Rt. 1, Oak City; SALLY SPRUILL GOSS, 20, Rt. 3, Williamston; ROSA MARIE GOSS, six months; ANNIE MARIE GOSS, two years old; and KATHERINE BARNES, 28, of Hamilton, who died in Beaufort Memorial Hospital.
It was the second multiple-fatality accident claiming more than five lives within three days in North Carolina and the second nine-fatality accident in less than six months.

Statesville Record And Landmark North Carolina 1965-10-18