Dalzell, SC Two Jets Crash Into Farmhouse, July 20, 1960


Shaw Air Force Base, S. C. (AP) - Two jet planes crashed here today shortly after a side-by-side pre-dawn take-off. The fiery crashes killed four persons. One plane hurtled into a farmhouse and exploded, killing a sleeping couple.
The dead:
MR. and MRS. J. E. DAVIS, SR., an elderly farm couple alone in the house, and the pilots of the two RF101 jets, 1st LT. ROGER N. SIEGEL, 27, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and CAPT. CLARENCE A. TOEPKE, 30, of Franklin Park, Ill.
The Shaw AFB Public Information Office said the cause of the crash was not known. There were no witnesses when the planes took off at 3:46 a.m. on a night refueling mission.
The PIO said the jets, on the same runway, plummeted to earth within 30 seconds after their landing gear retracted.
One of the fighter reconnaissance planes plowed a deep furrow in an asphalt highway, when clipped off a tree in the DAVIS' yard, before it ricocheted into the frame house and exploded. DAVIS, 73, and his wife, ATHA, 72, perished when the house, a nearby barn and several outbuildings went up in flames. The house was in the small community of Dalzell, about 1 1/2 miles northeast of the base.
The second plane crashed and burned in an open field about 100 yards from the house, center of DAVIS' turkey farm, one of the largest in South Carolina.
The widespread fire which burned or seared about seven acres of land at the farm apparently was caused when underground fuel tanks, buried near the house and outbuildings, ignited.
No other residents in the area were injured. J. F. McLeod, 50, the nearest neighbor, said nearly all windows in his home were blown out.
CAPT. TOEPKE is survived by his widow and young son who live in nearby Sumter, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Otto W. Toepke of Franklin Park, Ill.
LT. SIEGEL is survived by his widow and three small children who live here, his father Jerome J. Siegel of Palo Alto, Calif., and his mother, Mrs. Esther Siegel of Brooklyn.

The Index-Journal Greenwood South Carolina 1960-07-20