Enid, OK Bus And Train Collision, Feb 1942



Enid, Okla., Feb. 26 (AP) - A Rock Island freight train ripped through a bus today killing seven enlisted men in the Army Air Corps.
Twenty-five others were injured in the crash which occurred in a blinding snow storm, half a mile west of Enid.
The list of dead supplied by Capt. Calvin W. Hammond, press relations officer of the Enid flying school:
PVT. HERBERT J. TAYLOR, 22, Lake Kerr, Florida.
PVT. EUGENE L. UNDERWOOD, 23, Rogersville, Pa.
SGT. EUGENE J. SANDERS, 26, Yoakum, Texas.
PVT. VERNON OHNSTED, 26, Georgetown, Minn.
PVT. ROBERT W. WALKER, 23, Bay City, Texas.
PVT. CYRIL J. MINARCIK, 21, Chicago, Illinois.
PVT. JOHN LUDLUM, 25, Battle Creek, Mich.

Two Critically Injured.
STAFF SGT. ERNEST M. SHULTZ, 25, Forrestburg, Tenn.
RAYMOND W. MUSS, 25, Holsington, Kansas.
There were no witnesses to the accident other than the men in the bus and train crew, Captain Hammond said.
Maj. W. A. Stephens, post adjutant of the Enid flying school, said the bus carried between 35 and 40 men. The accident occurred about 12:15 a.m. at a grade crossing a half mile west of Enid.
None of the men were pilots, Major Stephens said.
The soldiers, based at the Enid flying school, were returning to their barracks about a mile west of Enid when the crash occurred. They had been on leave.
Driver of the bus, which operates between the air base and the city of Enid, a distance of about four miles, WENDELL THOMAS SMITH, 28, of Enid, a civilian.

Couldn't Stop.
SMITH gave the following account of the crash:
"I had shifted into third gear and was slowing down to stop at the crossing but the road was so slick from snow I couldn't stop."
"When I saw the lights of the train bearing down through the snow I speeded up in an attempt to cross but I didn't quite make it. The train hit the back of the bus and turned it around."
"If I hadn't speeded up I would have landed right in the middle of the track."
Hospital attendants said he would recover from his injuries.

Snow Cuts Visibility.
Captain Hammond said he understood SMITH stopped at the crossing but did not see the approaching train because of the swirling snow.

The Emporia Gazette Kansas 1942-02-26