William McCluskey

14 July 1937


Contributed by Walter Farwell





Car Sideswipes Big Truck Attempting To Pass


 Surgeons Remove Thirty Inches of Intestines But Still Victim Lives Three Days."

  --The most horrifying accident to happen in this community since the advent of the automobile, took place last Wednesday night on the road leading from Thurman to McPaul and resulted in the death Saturday of William McCluskey of Thurman, 49 years of age.

McCluskey, coming east on the Thurman-McPaul road, driving a Ford roadster with special gear, had passed another car a quarter mile back and was said to have been going at a swift pace. Meeting W. C. McDaniel's big truck, carrying 9,000 pounds of hogs to the Nebraska City market, Mr. McCluskey failed to swing out far enough for clearance. His Ford sideswiped the front fender of the truck, breaking a wheel off the car and throwing it against and under the heavier machine. In so doing a piece of the oaken truck floor was torn off, a strip an inch and a half square and two feet long, and this was driven into McCluskey's abdomen just below the ribs on the left side, passing entirely through his body, carrying bits of his clothing with it. The car behind came up in a few moments and its occupants, with the aid of Dave Sliger, driver of the truck, succeeded with considerable difficulty in pulling the stick out of the suffering man. Such vitality as that displayed by McCluskey is seldom seen or heard of. He calmly directed the removal of the timber and upon reaching Thurman walked from the car into Dr. Cole's office unaided and told the doctor what had happened.

He was taken to Hamburg hospital where surgeons, who had been notified by phone and were ready to receive him, at once set about to give relief.  Some thirty-two inches of his intestines were removed entirely and countless other perforations joined.

Except for the time when he was under the influence of drugs, Mr. McCluskey was conscious to the last. He lingered until Saturday afternoon when death claimed him. To friends at his bedside he said "I think I'll sleep awhile." Those were his last words.

Monday morning Coroner Ralph Lovelady empanelled a jury composed of R. S. Crawford, J. R. Ettlemen and A. E. Bell who, after hearing the testimony of witnesses, returned this verdict: "We, the coroner's jury, find that William McCluskey met his death as the result of a automobile collision between a car driven by deceased and a truck owned by W. D. McDaniel and driven by David Sliger. We hold that the collision was due to negligence of deceased."

Mr. McCluskey was about 49 years years of age and had spent practically all his life in this county. For the past several years he and his mother have conducted the only hotel at Thurman. His father and brother, Earl, live in Montana, another brother, Harry now resides at Lusk, Wyoming.

Funeral services were held yesterday afternoon from the hotel.