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Luschen, Leonard Henry 1920-1942


Posted By: Lydia Lucas, volunteer
Date: 7/23/2011 at 15:12:03

THREE KILLED BY A CRASH AT CROSSING. BROTHER AND SISTER BURNED TO DEATH SUNDAY. Another Fatally Hurt as Auto Collides With a North Western Train Near Brunsville

Two young people, a brother and a sister, were burned to death and three others were injured, one fatally, in a train and automobile collision at Brunsville about 4 o'clock last Sunday morning [Dec. 13].

Dorothy Luschen, 20, and Leonard Luschen, 22, daughter and son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Luschen, residing a mile north and a mile west of Adaville, perished in the flames which broke out after the automobile crashed into the side of the train. Others in the car at the time were C. J. Noonan of Sioux City, driver and owner of the car, and Ed Marshall and Clara Sawin of Brunsville. Miss Sawin died Wednesday afternoon in a Sioux City hospital from burns received in the accident.

The young people had spent the evening in Le Mars and were on their way home at the time of the accident, which occurred at the grade crossing at the south end of Brunsville. According to reports, wheel marks in the road indicated that the driver of the car had apparently seen the train and jammed on the brakes to avoid the collision.

Miss Sawin and Leonard Luschen were sitting in the front seat with Mr. Noonan. Miss Luschen and Ed Marshall were in the back seat. According to the authorities, the car struck the center of the train and was dragged for about 50 feet. The car caught fire at once from a broken gas line.

Luschen was pinned in the car and even if not injured could not have escaped from the burning auto. Noonan was able to get out of the car when the door on his side partially opened. He was dazed but managed to assist Miss Sawin to get away from the flames which were coming through the floor boards.

Both back doors were jammed shut and could not be opened. Marshall, who was in the back seat, broke a window and escaped. He tried to get Miss Luschen out but failed. The girl fought him off, according to Marshall, when he first tried to pull her from the car. Suddenly she slumped unconscious and he was unable to reach her. The body was so badly burned that identification could only be made through articles of jewelry.

Members of the train crew noticed the fire and stopped to pick up the three injured people and took them to Sioux City. Much of Miss Sawin's hair was burned off her head. She suffered burns on her face and arms, as did Marshall. Noonan complained of pains in his side.

The train was the passenger which arrives in Hawarden from the west at 2:27 a.m. and consisted of three passenger cars, six freight cars and a caboose. A train official stated that the car collided with the train's third car from the rear. The crossing is well protected with vibrating stop signs and flashing lights.

Coroner Luken of Plymouth county states that an inquest will be held Friday or Saturday.

A double funeral was held at Christ Lutheran church in Grant township, Plymouth county, at 2 o'clock Wednesday afternoon, Rev. F. Bunge officiating. Burial was in Grant township cemetery.

Mr. and Mrs. G. J. Eilers, Mr. and Mrs. John Wilkison, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Eilers, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Peters and Emil Witt of Hawarden attended the funeral. The two victims of the crash were a niece and nephew of Mrs. G. J. Eilers, Mrs. Luschen being her sister.

Dorothy Emma Luschen was born near Hawarden Sept. 22, 1922, and Leonard Henry Luschen was born near Hawarden August 26, 1920. They lived with their parents on the former John Lawton farm, southeast of Hawarden. The family moved to Plymouth county a number of years ago.

They leave to mourn their untimely death their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Luschen, a sister, Mrs. Herman Pecks of Le Mars, two brothers, Raymond, serving in the army, and Arlen at home. Raymond was unable to get home in time for the funeral.

Source: Hawarden Independent, Dec. 17, 1942.


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