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27 Jul 1936
Submitted by Patty Millich

From the Front page:


Driver is Barely Able to Miss Steep Cliff Near Johnstown

5 Severely Injured

Children Cry and Women Scream as Huge Machine Starts to Sway

Johnstown, Pa. July 27—A Pittsburgh-bound bus roared out of control toward a 250-foot precipice near here today, its passengers screaming as the coach swayed down slippery Frankstown Hill.

One hundred feet from the brink of the precipice, Driver Clay Worthington swerved the bus into a steep hillside. The coach hit the embankment at an angle and overturned.

The 24 passengers who had faced almost certain death had the bus gone over the precipice were taken to Memorial and Lee Hospitals. Nine were detained for further treatment and the rest were discharged while none was considered in serious condition.

Kicks in Windshield

As the bus struck the hillside, Worthington, 33, of Gerry, Pa., turned off the ignition and kicked out the windshield. With the help of State Trooper William Tevelin, 38, of Rockview, Pa., a passenger, he took the men, women and children, including five Pittsburghers, from the bus.

Worthington himself ran the half-mile into Johnstown and summoned police and ambulance help while Trooper Tevelin gave emergency treatment to the injured.

The bus was en route from Scranton, Pa., to Pittsburgh.

Earlier in the morning, it had passed through a heavy storm which made the highway slippery. At the top of a steep hill leading into Johnstown, Worthington shifted into second gear.

Women Scream

Two hundred yards from the top, the rear end of the bus began to sway. The bus picked up speed. Worthington yelled to Tevelin:

“It's out of control. There's a precipice right ahead.”

Tevelin calmly directed Worthington to turn the bus into the hillside embankment.

Worthington swerved. The children in the bus cried. The women screamed.

As the bus hit the embankment, Worthington turned off the ignition and in the same move kicked out the windshield. He and Tevelin clambered through and then pulled out the other passengers.

Road is Blocked

The coach fell over on its side and blocked the road.

Among those taken to the hospitals were:

Pauline Kopec, 23, of 231 South Mathilda St., Pittsburgh, bruises on the left hand.

Mrs. Marie Doyle, 47, of 121 Anabelle St., Pittsburgh, bruises of the left arm.

Leo Doyle, 54, her husband, body bruises.

Mrs. Pearl Deutsch, 43, of 4842 Second Ave., Pittsburgh, shock and bruises of the head.

Clara Deutsch, 16, her daughter, bruises of the right leg and ankle.

Mrs. Edith Hosteller, 37, of Youngstown, O., bruises of right leg and left elbow.

Mrs. Verna Zeman, 35, of Youngstown, abrasions of the right elbow and possible fractured ribs.

Her four-month-old daughter, Doris, uninjured.

Elizabeth D'Antonia, 21, of Donora, shock and lacerations of the right ear.

Alfred D'Antonia, 23, her husband, contusions of the right thigh and fracture of the right femur.

All but the D'Antonias were discharged. They were detained for further treatment at Memorial Hospital.

The point were the bus stopped was less than a hundred feet from the big cliff overlooking Johnstown.

First Accident

With the passengers safe on the ground, Worthington left Tevelin in charge and started for town. Ten minutes later, Johnstown police and ambulances arrived to take the injured to hospitals.

It was Worthington's first accident in nearly three years. Two weeks from today he would have received a “three-year-pin” for safe driving.

The dispatcher in Pittsburgh said another bus was sent to Johnstown immediately to take the discharged passengers to their destination. All but a few of them continued their trip, he said.

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