Clearfield, PA Auto Accident, May 1942

Woodland Child Killed In Car Collision; One Driver was Fleeing From Police

A year-old Woodland child is dead today, the mother is in serious condition in the Phillipsburg State Hospital, and the driver of a car involved in the accident, who was fleeing from Clearfield police from whom he escaped, is injured and under guard at the same hospital.

The dead child was FRANKLIELIN RAY LIBERATORI, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Liberatori of Woodland.

The mother is suffering a fractured hip and lacerations.

The driver of the car, which collided with one driven by Mr. Liberatori, is Charles Brigham, 26, former Clearfield resident, wanted for desertion from the U. S. Army and the theft of two automobiles. He has a fractured jaw and internal injuries. State Police from Clearfield are keeping constant guard over him at the hospital.

The accident occurred one-half mile west of West Decatur Route No. 322 at 11:45 p.m. Saturday. State Police said the collision occurred on a slight curve and that Brigham was operating to the left of the center of the highway. Brigham is also known in Clearfield as Charles Pickles.

Dr. W. S. Erhard, county coroner stated the child died instantly of a fractured skull. He said that there would be an inquest.

State Police here today said the child was riding with its parents, en route home from Philipsburg, when their car was struck head-on by the Brigham-driven machine. Mr. Liberatori escaped with only lacerations.

According to police and the coroner here is what happened:

Several days ago the State Police received word over their teletype that Brigham, alias Pickles, was wanted as a deserter from the United States Army at Lowry Field, Colorado. And on a charge of stealing a car at Denver. They were asked to notify the Clearfield chief of police as Brigham was believed on his way to Clearfield. A later teletype message said that Brigham was also wanted in Buffalo, N. Y., where he was charged with the theft of another car.

Brigham was located in a local taproom Saturday night and was taken to the Clearfield County jail by Chief of Police R. J. McMullen and Officer Ernest Woolridge.

Chief McMullen is said to have left Officer Woolridge, Brigham and the turnkee [sic] in the jail corridor and stepped around the corner of the corridor to notify State Police that he had arrested the man and to get any further instructions.

While the chief was making the call, according to the turnkey, Brigham asked Woolridge to get him some cigarettes before he was placed in the cell block. When Woolridge went out to get the cigarettes, Brigham rushed from the jail corridor and ran to the car parked near the taproom in which he was arrested. The car allegedly was the one taken at Buffalo.

Chief McMullen said he was unaware of what had happened until he completed his telephone conversation with State Police.

Brigham was apparently attempting to get as far away from Clearfield as possible when the fatal accident occurred, police said.

Clearfield Progress, Clearfield, PA 25 May 1942