east memorial
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East Memorial
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East Memorial was named to honor students killed in a bus accident.
At 8:30 a.m. during a hazy cold morning on Dec. 14, 1961, a school bus carrying 36 students was hit by a train.

The train was traveling at 79 miles per hour.

The bus was crossing the tracks at a diagonal. The windows were foggy because of the extreme cold. The driver did not see the approaching train. He only had a small clearing to use on his window to see out.

The crossing only had a sign.
There weren't any lights or signals at the crossing to let the driver know that a train was coming.

The bus was split in half.
Part of the bus was dragged 455 feet down the track. Twenty students were killed and another 16 were injured.

The driver was charged with manslaughter.
After a three day trial, the bus driver was found innocent of any charges.

One of the results of the accident was a change in the law.
Busses have always had to stop at railroad crossings. But today bus drivers are required to open the doors and look and listen before crossing any railroad tracks. The passengers (people on the bus) have to be silent during that time.

East Memorial School was named to remember the students who died that morning.
East Memorial Elementary was built close to the accident scene and was named as a memorial to those students involved in the tragic accident.

East Memorial will become part of Bella Romero starting 2014-2015.
East Memorial will become a Kindergarten through third grade buidling combined with Bella Romero which will be a fourth grade through eigth grade building. The new name will be Bella Romero Academy of Applied Technology.

Plaque inside East Memorial Tree Plaque with Student names plaque
Plaque with the names of students who died. Memorial Tree plaque with the original plaque.
Tree Plaque The Red Maple Tree
Plaque for the Red Maple tree planted for the 25th Anniversary of the accident. (Yes, you can see my hand.) This is the Red Maple tree that was planted for the 25th Anniversary.
New Tree for 50th Tree planted on 25 anniversary
This is the new tree planted in memory of the students in honor of the 50th anniversary of the accident. The tree planted on the 25 Anniversary. Both trees were covered in yellow ribbons in memory of everyone affected by the accident.
Bruce Ford speaking Mrs. Ford speaks
Bruce Ford, one of the surviviors and brother to Jimmy Ford one of the victims, speaks to the audience. Mrs. Ford, mother of two survivors and Jimmy Ford a victim in the accident, speaks to the audience.
Video of a few highlights from the 50th Anniversary of the Crossing Accident at East Memorial School on October 13, 2011.
(The sun was extremely bright so Mr. Ungeheuer was wearing sunglasses.)
The Crossing Page
Here is a page about the Crossing Memorial for the students who died in the tragic accident.
Updated March 31, 2014 6:30 PM


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