FREE genealogy since 1999 - History belongs to all of us!
Get Started Sign In
Menu Menu
Search Search
Family Tree Family Tree
Daily News Daily News
Bookmarks Bookmarks
Not on this site Don't end up on this site as someone's ancestor!
Visit our Rockville, Maryland, USA page!
Discover the people who lived there, the places they visited and the stories they shared.

1935 - 13 Students Die as Train Hits Bus, Carries It A Mile. TEACHER, DRIVER ESCAPE. Bodies Strewn Along Tracks — High School Party Was on Way Home From Exhibit

ROCKVILLE, Md., Friday, April 12.— An express train last night crushed into wreckage a school bus, bringing a death toll estimated by police at thirteen.

Physicians and police placed the known death toll at that figure shortly after the accident, but the Baltimore offices of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, whose train was involved, announced that the death list was between nineteen and twenty-three.

The driver of the bus, Percy Line, said he knew nothing of the approaching train until a whistle screamed, followed instantly by the impact which tore the bus virtually in two, tossing the bodies of its young occupants along the right-of-way as the train ground to a stop.

Twenty-eight pupils of the Williamsport, Md., High School, the driver and Miss Louise Funk, a teacher, were in the bus. They were returning from a chemistry exhibition at the College Park branch of the University of Maryland.

No Watchman at Crossing
Members of the Rockville rescue squad, local volunteer organization which aided in removing the dead and injured, said that after 10 P. M. the crossing had no watchman, although a warning bell sounded at the approach of trains.

Police declared the view of the crossing was normally good, although
rain and fog made visibility low last night. Most of the dead were riding in the rear of the bus, which bore the brunt of the impact. The teacher and driver, with the pupils who were not seriously injured, were in the forward end. Immediate identification of many of the dead was made difficult by the mangled condition of many of the bodies.

The accident occurred virtually in the outskirts of this village, located sixteen miles north of Washington. Ambulances were hurried from Washington to the scene. The train, an express Eastbound from St. Louis, caught the wreckage of the bus up and carried it what police estimated at a mile before it could be stopped. Railroad men said the train was not derailed. Line, the driver, and Miss Funk, the teacher, suffered only cuts and bruises.

"I heard the whistle just as it hit us," Line told reporters brokenly.
"I didn't see the train until I heard the bell of the engine as I started over the track."

The terrific crash which resulted when the engine struck the bus about ten feet from the rear end awakened scores of people living near by.
Many rushed to the scene, carrying lanterns and flashlights, searching
for the mangled bodies strewn along the tracks.

Rescuers Work in Rain
All rescue squads in the county were called out as the search was carried on in a drizzling rain. Two bodies were said to have been
carried on the engine for 500 yards.

The teacher made the following statement:
"I felt myself spinning around and I was thrown against the driver, who was in turn wedged against the steering wheel. The bus was knocked around against a high bank beside the track and facing in the direction from which it had come. I heard screams and moans and dying children. I regained command of myself. I had been stunned when my head hit the top of the bus."

Those known to have been on the bus, in addition to the driver and teacher, included Paul McElray, Carl Brindle, Norris Downs, James Flurie, Phoebe Kelley, Margaret Kress, Lois Winters, Bertha Castle,
Pearl Emerson, Claude Myers, Margaret Eva Zimmerman, Elva Harsh, Leroy Kenelle, Mary Lou Downs, Virginia Myers, Jane Stally, Wilma Nervy, Helen Bloyer, Dwight Fearnow, Blanche Long, Mary Teach, Glenn Anderson, Malcolm Collier, Billy Collier, Duward Hose and Albert Leaf.

The Rev. Cecil J. McNeal of Catholic University, Washington, relieving a priest at Rockville, told news men the accident happened under his casement window. He rushed out and administered last rites to the dying.

The New York Times

New York, New York

Go Back

The comments you read here belong only to the person who posted them. We reserve the right to remove off-topic and inappropriate comments.