Treacherous road results in death in 1948 crash

  • Apr. 19, 2011 1:00 p.m.
This section of the  Old Kaleden Road was the scene of a fatal accident in 1948 when an automobile drove off the bluff above the KVR tracks in the centre of this photo. The vehicle came to rest on the tracks

This section of the Old Kaleden Road was the scene of a fatal accident in 1948 when an automobile drove off the bluff above the KVR tracks in the centre of this photo. The vehicle came to rest on the tracks

William D. Taylor, 19, formerly  of  Kelowna, is dead, a car, registered in the name of Julianna Cooper, is a total wreck, and two other lads, Harry George Cooper, 20, of Penticton, and John Davis, formerly of Kelowna, are in hospital as the result of a car accident occurring near Kaleden late on Tuesday night.

The accident occurred on the old Okanagan Falls – Kaleden road, near where what is known as the “apple dump” where there is a sheer 200 foot drop from the highway to the C.P.R. tracks, and then a shorter drop from the tracks to the lake.

The car was proceeding north, the trio having been to Oliver, and were on their way back to Penticton. In some manner not explained the vehicle left the winding, narrow road and landed, bottom up, on the tracks below the precipice.

Taylor, who arrived in Pentcton little more than a week ago, and who was working for W. “Duco” Bill Hodgson in his  body shop was apparently thrown out of his car on the way down.

When police arrived his body was about 50 feet out into Skaha Lake. Near it was a seat cushion and a wrench belonging to the car.

Davis, who also arrived in Penticton just over a week before the accident, and who was working for Grant King, was flung out of the car, landing in the lake, but was not so far from shore. He scrambled to safety and made his way to Kaleden to seek help.

Cooper was flung out, but landed on the tracks. He is the son of Mr. ans Mrs. Harry Cooper of Penticton, and had been working for Interior Contracting Co.in the office, prior to which he was with A.F. Cumming, when this firm operated an accounting business.

Prior to coming to Penticton, Taylor was employed  in a body shop in Kelowna. The employer says of him that he was extremely industrious, and had started a bank account with his first weeks’ pay, and also was enrolling in night school classses. His parents reside near Mission Road, Kelowna.

This morning, a coroners jury viewed the body, releasing it for burial, which will be held in Kelowna. The inquest is scheduled for Monday, with Dr. R.B. White, coroner, presiding.

Constable W.A. Demmon, highway patrol officer, and Constable K.A. Atree , district officer, went to the scene of the accident and are carrying out the investigation.

At the inquest this morning the medical evidence of Dr. John Gibson was heard by the jury. Dr. Gibson gave cause of death as being a fractured skull, and a fracture at the base of the neck. The jury, which includes E.S. Murray, (foreman) George Kingsley, Arthur Gaube, William Foreman, John Egley, and Ed Aldredge, will hear evidence on the case at 3:30 on Monday afternoon.

The following day the newspaper reported that the jury had absolved the driver of fault, noting that road conditions were the cause of the crash – even though it was revealed that those involved had spent several hours at an Oliver pub prior to the accident on Old Kaleden Road.

 

– Penticton Herald Archives