The Journal Gazette
Thursday, September 09, 2021 1:00 am

Oct. 17, 1947: Bridge falls in truck accident

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

In the evening of Oct. 17, 1947, a tractor-trailer rig hit a bridge support on US Highway 427, causing the bridge floor to fall about 12 feet to the creek bed below.

The truck had been trying to avoid crashing with another truck, which was itself trying to avoid a speeding car that did not stop after the crash. The original 1947 story from The Journal Gazette is below.

To suggest a date or subject, email Corey McMaken at


“Truck Trailer, Bridge Floor Drop Into Creek In Mishap” (Oct. 18, 1947)

A car traveling at high speed, which failed to stop was responsible for truck mishap at a bridge on US Highway 427 approximately three miles north of here at 8:30 p.m. yesterday which dropped part of the bridge floor and the trailer of the truck into creek bed.

Traffic is being rerouted over US Highway 27 until repairs on the bridge can be made.

The rear of tractor-trailer driven by Herman Ellsworth, 37, of Gas City and owned by the Miller Transportation Company, Kokomo, dropped approximately 12 feet with part of the bridge floor into the creek bed when a part of the bridge gave way as a bridge support was struck by the vehicle.

Sheriff's officers who investigated said the accident occurred as the truck driven by Ellsworth, southbound, rammed into a bridge support at the northwest corner of the structure to avoid ramming into the rear of another truck, operated by Bruce Searfoss, Auburn.

Searfoss, forced to jam on his brakes as a northbound automobile, traveling at high speed approached the bridge, was able to clear the bridge, but Ellsworth, also forced to jam on his brakes to avoid hitting Searfoss vehicle, hit the bridge support when the right front wheel brake grabbed, pulling him to the right.

The vehicle driven by Ellsworth had started to clear the bridge when the portion carrying the trailer collapsed and fell into the creek bed. Ellsworth's truck, carrying approximately a ton and a half of general merchandise, was pulled back into the hole as the drive shaft on the tractor was pulled apart.

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