Mon
Jul 27 2009
07:49 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett

Hello Readers,...I found some newspaper accounts, some as far away as Des Moines, Iowa about the school bus accident in Spring City, in August 1955. Since Spring City is nearby and many of the injured were brought to our Chamberlain Memorial Hospital, I thought the articles might be of interest to you. I remember it very well, such a tradgedy...

10 KILLED IN TRAIN-BUS CRASH

School Bus Demolished; 30 Injured

SPRING CITY, Tenn., Aug. 22 (AP) -- A 100-car freight train demolished a school bus loaded with about 40 children here today, killing at least 10 of them and injuring all the others.
The state-highway patrol at Nashville said its reports had 17 definitely killed, but this figure could not be confirmed from the several hospitals and funeral homes involved.
The Southern Railway train struck the bus broadside, scattering dead and injured grammar school children for 10 car-lengths along the track.
The accident happened just off the main street of this town of less than 2,000 population, two blocks from the elementary school the children had just left.
As in most other rural Tennessee areas, Spring City schools start classes in mid-August to allow a harvest-time recess. The town is near an elbow of the Tennessee River between Knoxville and Chattanooga.
Every available ambulance and all state highway patrol cars for miles around were dispatched here immediately. The children, all white, and ranging in age from 6 to 12, were taken to hospitals here and at nearby Dayton, Rockwood, Chattanooga and Crossville.
Identification of the children was a slow process, officers said, with 10 of the dead identified three hours after the mid-afternoon crash.
Bus driver RAYMOND MOORE, who was treated for head injuries, said four parked cars obstructed his view of the oncoming train.
"I stopped at the crossing," MOORE said, "but didn't see the train. When I started across the tracks, I saw it and heard the engineer blowing his whistle."
"I prayed I would make it but I knew I was too late."
Police Chief RAYMOND POWERS said he heard the crash, looked up and saw a "puff of smoke."
"When the smoke cleared, people began picking up bodies of the children and loading them into cars and ambulances," he said.
BILL BARTON said he and other bystanders saw the crash was imminent and began shouting to the bus driver:
"Go on, go on."
PAUL GILLES, engineer of the train estimated the train's speed at 45 miles an hour at the time of the accident.
"This is one of those things you read about, but don't believe will happen," said DENTON SMITH, principal of the Spring City school. "It is the worst thing that's ever happened here."
At Knoxville, Gov. FRANK CLEMENT said he had ordered the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the State Education Commissioner's office to investigate the mishap.
"We must leave no stone unturned in finding out the cause of this tragedy so that we can do all in our power to prevent a recurrence of such a disaster," the governor declared.
"All Tennesseans will be saddened at the report of this tragedy."

Ten-year-old WALTER BOLES, on of the less seriously injured pupils, said:
"I remembering turning a couple of flips in the bus but that's about all. I don't recall hearing the train whistle blow. It was over so quickly. I just don't know how it happened."
WALTER, son of MR. AND MRS. JAMES BOLES of near Spring City, was treated at Rockwood Hospital.
GENE CRISP, TV repairman who works in heart of Spring City, said he raced for the scene seconds after happened. "My two boys came running toward me out of the dust, hollering 'Daddy, Daddy.' I was never so glad to see anybody in my life."
The boys are ROBERT, 7, and FRANCIS, 8, who were released after first aid. FRANCIS said, "I saw it (train) coming, and I hollered. It sort of seemed like I was in a dream."
Hundreds of Spring City and Rockwood residents offered to donate blood for victims. Veterans organizations and entire football squad of Rockwood High stood ready, but after many offers accepted, hospital officials asked others to remain available in case needed.

Kingsport News Tennessee 1955-08-23

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SPRING CITY BUS CASUALTIES LISTED.

SPRING CITY, Tenn. (AP) -- Following is a list of the 10 killed and 31 injured in a school bus-freight crash here yesterday.

RICHARD PHILLIPS, 6, and MAX PHILLIPS, 7, sons of MR. AND MRS. JOHN PHILLIPS.
WALLACE HARTBURGER, about 12, and MURIEL HARTBURGER, children of MR. AND MRS. HOLLLIS HARTSBURGER.
EVERETT EDWARDS, son of MR. AND MRS. PERRY EDWARDS.
ROSE MARY GIDEON.
MARY ELIZABETH BALL, 8, daughter of MR. AND MRS. WALTER BALL.
JIMMY HACKLER, 6, son of MR. AND MRS. KENNETH HACKLER.
CHARLOTTE MARSHALL, 10, daughter of MR. AND MRS. FOLEY MARSHALL.
SHIRLEY MINCEY, 6.

The injured with condition where known:
At Chattanooga Hospital:
JEAN EDWARDS, fair.
BARBARA HARRIS, fairly good.
JEAN MINCEY, serious.
THELMA JEAN MOONEYHAN, serious.
CHARLES RAY EDWARDS, fair.
At Rockwood:
LINDA EDWARDS, fair.
CLIFFORD EDWARDS, serious.
WANDA LEE ENGLAND, fair.
RALPH F. FINE, fair.
CLARA R. FINE, fair.
JAMES A. GIDEON, fair.
JERRY MINCEY, serious.
JOHNNY LEE MINCEY, fair.
JAMES W. ODEAR, serious.
DALLAS H. ODEAR, fair.
GARY P. ODEAR, fair.
PATRICIA RIDDLES, fair.
MAX RECTOR, fair.
At Crossville:
LARRY McCLURE and DIANA HOUSE.
At Dayton:
B. F. McCARTHER.

The Kingsport Times Tennessee 1955-08-23

CLEMENT said he would visit the injured children and parents of those killed sometime tomorrow.

10 Children Die; Train Rams Bus

Governor of Tennessee Calls Investigation; 30 Kids Hurt

SPRING CITY, Tenn. (UP) -- Gov. FRANK CLEMENT Tuesday ordered a three-way investigation of a freight train-school bus collision which killed 10 small children and injured 30 others at a Spring City grade crossing.
The speeding train Monday plowed into the side of the yellow bus toward the rear, tearing it into a twisted mass and scattering the killed and mangled children for 300 feet.
Among the slightly injured was the driver, RAYMOND MOORE, 38, who said he saw the train and "prayed I would make it" but it was too late.
CLEMENT promised stunned parents of Ideal Valley, where most of the children lived, that the state would "leave no stone unturned" to prevent a recurrence of such a disaster.

Governor To Meet Parents
The governor announced Monday night in Knoxville, Tenn., that he would arrive Tuesday to meet personally the parents of the dead children and tour hospitals of four other towns where the injured were taken.
Mayor LEONARD PACK, an early arriver at the scene, said the freight train was traveling at full speed along the tracks through the heart of this town of 1,725 population and "burst the rear of the bus like a bubble."
This farming town in the Cumberland mountain foothills has no hospital. The injured children were rushed by ambulance and private automobiles to hospitals in Chattanooga, Rockwood, Crossville and Dayton.

Charges Filed.
The bus driver, a part-time farmer, said he had been driving his newly-bought school bus only since the school term began little more than a week ago. He was charged with manslaughter and released on bond.
PAUL GILLES, engineer of the Southern Railway train, also was charged with manslaughter, highway patrolmen said. Hearing for both men was set for Aug. 30.
"I stopped at the crossing but didn't see the train," MOORE said. "When I started across the tracks I saw it and heard the engineer blowing the whistle. I prayed I would make it but I knew I was too late."

Stunned Parents Arrive.
Engineer GILLES said he was traveling at full speed but that the warning light was blinking at the crossing.
He said the bright yellow bus moved upon the tracks when he was about 150 feet from the crossing and his diesel engine struck it about six feet from the rear.
The bus had picked up the children at the grammar school two blocks away and was taking them toward their homes at scattered Ideal Valley farms and at Grandview community 2 ½ miles west of Spring City.
How many of remember when this happened? Did any of you donate blood or help in any way? My wife, being from Grandview knew several of the children. Until next week, Ray

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.