Thursday, March 7, 2013

Train Bus Crash: South Jordan, 1938

December 1, 1938 was a snowy morning in South Jordan.  As a result both the bus and the train were late.  The school bus had picked up children from Riverton and South Jordan, and had one more train crossing before reaching Jordan High School.  The train, "The Flying Ute," was at least an hour late traveling from Denver to Salt Lake City.  It was traveling between 50 and 60 mph.  Although the bus stopped before crossing, the driver did not perceive that the train was coming and continued across the tracks.  The train plowed through bus, splitting it in two.  The front part of the train was carried for a half mile down the track.  In the bus, the driver and and 25 school children perished.  Fourteen students were spared, mostly those in the back of the bus.  The train hit with such force, many of the clothes and shoes were ripped off of the victims in the bus.
A transient on the train provided this account:
The impact threw me across the car on my side.  I scrambled to my feet and ran to the side door and looked out to see what had happened.  I saw a sheel flying through the air from the front of the train.  My first impression was that the engine had struck a cattle truck as I imagined I detected bits of animals flying past me.  The train had been going awfully fast, but as it slowed down, I jumped to the ground.  I saw then that it qas children, heaps of them lying in the ditch, scattered along the track, like bees.  They all looked so bewildered, just like they were coming out of a bad dream.  Then they began to realize they were alive and began to scream...There wasn't much anybody could do other than comfort the dying.  The impact had torn the clothes off most of their little bodies, so I went around covering them up as best I could.
A poem written by young woman who died that day.


Bateman, Ronald R., Of Dugouts and Spires: The History of South Jordan.

1 comment:

  1. The mother of Elder Craig Terry, an Area Authority Seventy, miraculously survived the crash.