Elizabeth, NJ Jersey Turnpike Collision, May 1963


Elizabeth, N.J. (AP) -- Twelve trucks and three passenger cars, their drivers groping through dense fog, collided on the New Jersey Turnpike Monday, leaving six dead and seven injured.
The chain-reaction crash was the worst in the 11 1/2 year history of the superhighway.
All the dead were truck drivers. Some bodies had to be pried from the mass of twisted metal.
Two of the injured were admitted to local hospitals in fair condition.
Huge trucks were shoved off the ground by vehicles that smashed into them.
Cargoes of frozen fish, copper tubing, chickens, potatoes, tar and fuel oil blanketed the six-lane toll road.
Rescue workers, using the lights of fire engines in the predawn fog, labored as if in the midst of a junk yard.
The dead were:
BLAKE ST. MARIE, 34, Sarnia, Ont.
CHARLES L. HATCH, 35, Richmond, Va.
WILLIAM V. SENSEL, 40, Baltimore, Md.
RONALD D. PYLE, 27, Butler, Pa.
GEORGE J. ANDERSON, 46, Jackson, Mich.
GEORGE F. SMITH, 30, Glen Burnie, Md.
State police said in a preliminary report that the first collision occurred in the northbound lane between Newark and Elizabeth at 3 a.m., about an hour after a thick fog settled on the road.
Police said a truck driven by Y. B. COATES, of Roseboro, N.C., was traveling between 45 and 50 miles an hour and slowed to 35 m.p.h. or less after COATES saw an overhead sign warning of the fog. Visibility suddenly dropped to less than five feet, police said, and COATES applied his brakes sharply.
COATES' vehicle was then pushed 75 feet after it was struck in the rear by a tractor-trailer driven by DILLARD G. ROBINSON, 26, of Siler City, N.C. The two trucks rammed a Volkswagen driven by SAMUEL BAKER, 47, of Phillipsburg, N.J., and after the three vehicles skidded another 75 feet, the car was sent tumbling into weeds off the shoulder of the road.
The pileup of ten more trucks and two cars followed at the scene of the two halted tractor-trailers.

The Daily Record Stroudsburg Pennsylvania 1963-05-28

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