Honk – Screeeeech – BAM! Vintage Wrecks in the St. Paul Area

© Jerry F. Couch

Earlier this month some of the most beautiful automobiles in our region were on display at the Crooked Road Rod Run Car Show in St. Paul.  In the photos that accompany this article, you’ll see some of their less-fortunate brethren.  Their bashed noses, crumpled hindquarters, and torn flanks bear witness to the dangers of ca. 1970 highway travel.  Some of these irreparably damaged accident victims are pictured at the top of this page.  They ended their days in Porter Auto Sales’ salvage lot. 

Thanks to the efforts of highway traffic saftety engineers and automotive engineers, traffic accidents are less frequent and less severe today.  In the 1970’s the Clinch Valley Times featured photos of multiple car accidents almost every week.  Often, these wrecks resulted in serious injuries.  Some wrecks resulted in fatalities.

Click on any of the photos below to see a larger view…

The Ford on the left belonged to Jimmie Tompkins, longtime proprietor of Jimmies Restaurant in St. Paul.  It is posing for the camera at Earnest Hall’s Chrysler-Plymouth dealership located on Riverside Drive.  The 1970 Pontiac on the right looks as if it took a left hook to the kisser. 

Not sure where these two wrecks occurred.  The rear axle of the car on the left appears to have been torn loose by the impact.

The two trucks pictured at the left had become just a little too friendly.  On the right, a piece of heavy equipment being hauled on a trailer broke loose from its moorings.  Fortunately, the driver of the truck was able to stop before it toppled off.

At left, police officers are inspecting a truck that careened down a steep embankment.  At right, a Sevier’s Laundry truck had caught fire near Castlewood High School.  Sevier’s was located in Bristol and had numerous customers in this area.

Riverside Drive’s tight curve at the railroad underpass near the Bonanza Drive-In was the site of numerous traffic accidents.  The Chevrolet pictured at left narrowly missed the two houses seen in the picture.  At right, a truck and car have collided on Riverside Drive in front of Harold’s Grocery (formerly Hicks Grocery).  Meanwhile, the driver of a tow vehicle is carefully piloting someone’s new home around the accident.

Two more views of the accident in front of Harold’s Grocery.  The mishap attracted a large crowd of onlookers.

In the photo at left, someone’s camping plans have undegone a sudden change.  The accident occurred on Hwy. 58 between Coeburn and St. Paul.  The accident at right appears to have occurred on the road between Dante and St. Paul.

The accident in these two photos took place in front of St. Paul Builders at its original location on Riverside Drive.  It looks as if the 1965 Chevy II may have steered into the path of the Kays Ice Cream truck while attempting to pass it.  Neither vehicle appears to have sustained serious damage.

Remember, folks…drive carefully.  And if you drink, don’t drive.  Your familes love you and need you 🙂


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