Three Astoria Men, Two Summum, Victims Sunday Morning Accident

Two Killed Instantly, Three Die In Hospital At Macomb; Accident Near Table Grove

This community was terribly shocked Sunday morning when news spread of the terrible auto accident which occurred about a quarter of a mile south of Table Grove, on Route 10, resulting in the death of five of the six occupants of the car.

Two were instantly killed, Harry (Hank) Blemler, 64, Astoria, and Willis Malott, 24, Summum. The others, Herman Derry, 37, Lloyd Gilson, 31, Glen Sparks, 43, all of Astoria and Clyde Weese of Summum, seriously injured where taken to the St. Francis hospital in Macomb. All of the above died a few hours later with the exception of Weese, who was dismissed after he was given emergency treatment for minor injuries.

It is reported Gilson, owner of the car, and Oldsmobile, was driving. In the front seat with him were Sparks and Malott. In the rear seat, Blemler, Weese and Derry.

State police officers said the wreck was discovered by an unidentified truck driver who saw the lights from the car shining into the air about 300 feet from the highway over in a field. He drove on by and then decided to go back and investigate. He turned his truck around at the Vermont road junction, returned, and when he found out what had happened, he stopped a motorist who went into Table Grove and secured help.

All the bodies, it is said, with the exception of Gilson and Derry were hurled from the car. The bodies of Blemler and Malott were taken to the Hukill Funeral Home in Table Grove. Later Blemler’s body was taken to the Leighty Funeral Home in Vermont and Malott’s body was brought to Cline Horton’s funeral home in Astoria. Sparks was the first of the injured taken to the hospital to pass away. His body was brought to the Shawgo Memorial Home in Astoria. The next to succumb was Derry, then Gilson. Their bodies were brought to the Horton Funeral Home in Astoria.

It is not definitely known just where the men spent Saturday evening and night. Some say they had visited in Vermont, Table Grove and then had attended the fish fry in Marietta. This is not certain. A lot of reports being circulated, with no true version of just where they had been. That probably will be brought out at the coroner’s inquest, which will be held Thursday evening at 7:30 in the Hukill Funeral Home in Table Grove, by Dr. C. Lester Lambert, Fulton County Coroner.

The highway No. 10, south of Table Grove, follows a straight course for about a quarter of a mile, when it turns abruptly to the left to go under the Burlington railway bridge.

The car evidently was traveling at a terrific rate of speed when it left the road, as its cut off a large, well preserved guard rail post, continuing down a steep embankment, overturning several times as it hit two or three of several ditches, through a woven wire field fence, coming to a stop on its top with the wheels in the air. Malott was lying about 10 feet from the car in a ditch, and Sparks was thrown across a ditch a distance of about 40 feet. The distance from where the car left the pavement to where it came to a stop was about 300 feet. It is said the car did not vary a half foot from a straight line as it approached the curve. Not a single one of the four tires was blown out, but the car was completely demolished.

The farmer owning the field in which the car landed, claims that this makes the thirteenth time cars have gone through his fence at that location.

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Herman Derry

Herman Derry was born Sept. 27, 1910 in Astoria, a son of James and Mabel Foster Derry. He was aged 37 years, 11 months and 2 days.

Surviving are his mother, three sisters, Mrs. Hazel Mitchell of Mt. Sterling; Mrs. Helen Snowden of Astoria; Mrs. Hildreth Powell of Avon and one bother, Herschel, at home.

Funeral services were held today at 1 o’clock at Horton’s residence, conducted by Rev. Fred Thompson. Burial in the Astoria cemetery.


Published in the Argus-Searchlight on 9/1/1948

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