Scott County Newspaper Articles Fatal to Elizabeth Burchfield and Phil Bowman

Scott County Newspaper Articles
Fatal to Elizabeth Burchfield and Phil Bowman

This page last modified Friday, 24-Mar-2006 19:30:24 MST

The Sikeston (Mo.) Herald

Thursday, July 29, 1948

Part Two, Pages 9-16


Fatal to Elizabeth Burchfield and Phil Bowman

An inquest will be conducted at the Haman Funeral Home in Cape Girardeau tomorrow night into the circumstances surrounding last Friday night's traffic tragedy in which two Sikeston young people were killed and eight others injured.

Directing the inquest will be Cape Girardeau County Coroner, J. F. Sigmund, who has delayed investigation into the two-car head-on collision at a Highway 61 road repair barrier north of Cape Girardeau in order for injured passengers in the automobiles to be present.

Killed were Miss Laura Elizabeth Burchfield, 19, and Phillip D. Bowman, 21, of Sikeston.

Eight Injured

Seriously injured was Bill G. McReynolds, 22, of Sikeston and driver of the automobile in which the two young people met death. Miss Flois Nelson, 21, received serious head cuts and Miss Louise Schmidt, State College nurse at Cape Girardeau, suffered a broken ankle and badly lacerated head. Charles E. Vaughn, 28, of Lewisburg, Ky., received bruises and cuts on the right side of his head. All were passengers in the McReynolds automobile.

Hubert P. Norman, 21, of Girard, Ill., was driving the second car and suffered a badly injured knee among other injuries. Miss Edna Govro, 29, of Perryville, received facial and head cuts, and Miss Mildred Mueller, 26, also of Perryville, was cut about the head and severely lacerated on the foot. Alfred M. Thomas, 22, Wewoka, Okla., the fourth passenger in the Norman automobile, was only slightly hurt.

An account of the accident as reported by State Highway Patrolmen to Southeast Missourian newsmen was as follows:

Dies At Hospital

The Bowman youth was dead on arrival at Southeast Missouri Hospital, and though investigating officers said they thought they felt a slight pulse when he was taken from the car, the latter believed he was instantly killed. Cause of death was reported to be a broken neck.

Miss Burchfield was admitted to Southeast Missouri Hospital at 1:30 a.m., but died at 2:45 a.m. She was semi-conscious with severe head injuries. Death was attributed to an intracranial hemorrhage.

Miss Burchfield and McReynolds were taken to Southeast Missouri Hospital. The others, except for

Thomas, were taken to the St. Francis Hospital (in Cape Girardeau). He was not hospitalized.

Trooper Percy Little said McReynolds was driving the 1940 Studebaker, traveling south on Highway 61. Miss Burchfield was seated between him and Bowman. In the back seat were Vaughn, Miss Schmidt and Miss Nelson.

The other car, a Chevrolet, was traveling north. It was driven by Norman. With him in the car were Thomas, Miss Govro and Miss Mueller.

Make Investigation

Trooper Little, Police Officer George Bond and others investigated the accident. Trooper Morley Swingie later assisted in securing information from some of the accident victims.

Trooper Little said that the repair blockade, first north of the city, was just over the crest of the hill north of a tourist court in the northbound travel lane.

The Chevrolet topped the rise and pulled to the west side of the highway, the two vehicles smashing almost dead center, he said, immediately beside the barricade.

The impact was so great, the highway officers reported, that the two machines stopped almost dead at the very point of collision. The Studebaker was turned slightly to the west, with the Chevrolet angled in at about 45 degrees on the east.

The impact drove the front seat of the McReynolds car toward the dashboard. Bowman's head was between his knees and Miss Burchfield and McReynolds were pinned in the front seat, the latter partially outside where the left door had been knocked ajar.

Was Wreck Witness

It was necessary for police officers to break the front seat loose to free the passengers, Trooper Little said. A truck driver, Ora Ray, in a Plaza Express truck heading north, who witnessed the accident, reported to Trooper Little that it appeared the Chevrolet was trying to pass the barricade at the instant of the collision.

Bowman and Vaughn attended State College and Miss Schmidt is college nurse.

The party of six in the McReynolds car had been to Burfordville for a rabbit barbecue and were returning to Sikeston.

Trooper Little said he was told that Norman and Thomas are employees of the American Telephone Telegraph Co. working on the co-axial cable being laid through this district.


Out of town relatives who were here to attend the funeral service of Phillip Dover Bowman Monday afternoon were Mr. and Mrs. Paul Bowman, Jr., of Madison, Wis.; Mrs. R. W. Howard of El Paso, Texas; Dr. and Mrs. M. C. Cunningham of Maryville, Mo.; Mrs. Woolard Baker of St. Louis; Gene Bowman of Chanute Field, Ill.; and Mrs. L. P. Hulick and son, Bob, of Mansfield, Ill.

NOTE: The article was accompanied by two pictures with the following caption:

Pictured in the top photograph above is the Studebaker in which two Sikeston young people were killed last Friday night in a head-on collision with the Chevrolet below when the two cars crashed at a Highway 61 road repair barrier north of Cape Girardeau.

Submitted by: Carol J. Bowman, Poster-#-130-

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