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A look back at accidents

Americans are being discouraged from traveling during the holiday season. Public health experts say staying close to home would prevent the further spread of COVID-19.  

People anxious to see their loved ones in distant places are obviously disappointed the notravel policy is seen as necessary.  

One of the advantages of not going anywhere is that it should result in fewer people being killed or seriously injured on the nation’s highways. 

In the area covered by the Enquirer, here are a few accidents that have occurred at different times during the year, before the federal government ever issued any guidelines regarding travel.  

Nov. 15, 1923Justin Smith was killed early today in an automobile accident near the Flint Creek bridge. Smith was said to have been a passenger in a car driven by Abner Turner. As the machine neared the bridge, Turner apparently misjudged the distance of the car from the structure and the motor overturned within a few feet of the bridge.  

Oct. 7, 1926—The car of C. C. Shaffer was irreparably damaged Sunday night when it ignited while the gas tank was being filled.  Mr. Shaffer was standing outside of the car and holding the pump hose. The engine was not running at the time of the sudden explosion, which caused the face and hands of Mr. Shaffer to be severely burned before he could get out of the way. 

Nov. 7, 1927Funeral arrangements are being made for Mike Mayfield, resident of Caddo community, this county, who died Sunday night from injuries received Sunday afternoon when the automobile in which he was riding overturned because of a broken radius rod. Henry Peeples, who was driving the car, escaped with minor injuries. 

Dec. 20, 1928—Alma Pirkle, who was struck by a car driven by a Hartselle resident on the Bee Line Highway, died at the Benevolent Hospital in Decatur last night. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson Pirkle of the Ebenezer community. 

Oct. 5, 1933—A Decatur resident, 61, the widow of a minister, was seriously injured along with her passenger at 8:30 last Sunday night when their automobile crashed head-on into an unlighted car and overturned. The accident happened on the highway leading from Memphis, Tenn., to Blytheville, Ark. Three other passengers in the automobile escaped with bruises and were treated by their family physicians on their return back home. 

Feb. 25, 1937—Mrs. Jerry Miller of Los Angeles, Calif., was hurt last Saturday night when the automobile in which she was riding with her husband and 6-year-old son collided with a parked car on the Bee Line Highway. Mrs. Miller was first brought to a Cullman hospital for treatment but later was taken to a hospital in Birmingham. The parked car had been driven by a local young man. His gas line had clogged up, and he had stopped to clean it out. 

Dec. 1, 1949Robbie Quinn, Robert Stephenson and a party of six Auburn students returning to their homes for the Thanksgiving holidays last Wednesday evening had a narrow escape in a car-train accident at the edge of Alexander City. They were in the car of Euell Russell of Austinville. The near tragedy occurred at a rail crossing, immediately beyond which was a highway junction with a stop sign. A car ahead of the Russell car going across the railroad tracks had stopped for the highway junction. The Russell car could not clear the tracks because of the car ahead, and a train was bearing down on them. Euel’s car, in the excitement, was stalled on the tracks as he attempted to back off. The train struck the front of the car and badly wrecked it. The riders in the front seat jumped out of the car before the crash, and Robbie and Robert, with the other occupant of the back seat, having no time to get out of the car, rode in it through the wreck. Miraculously, none of the six was injured.