ACL & SAL Train Crash in Archer Florida - October 6, 1938

1 Killed In Archer Train Crash - Two Freights In Collision
J. B. Dormany Of Tampa Is Victim; Other Trainmen Slightly Injured
Article courtesy of the Gainesville Sun.


Shown above are several workmen in the act of removing the body of J. B. Dormany from beneath a tank car which fell on him when he leaped from the engine of the Seaboard train.

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This article was given to me by my cousin L.D. Still, of North Carolina, during a visit to Gainesville and Archer. The occasion of his visit here, was the passing of my dear uncle George Robert Leynes Jr. of Lakeland Fl. The article had been in the possesion of L.D.'s mother, Katye Leynes Still. The articles' pictures were annotated and showed Uncle Arther, (A.B.) Crevasse, in the top picture, watching the removal of the firemans body, and where, in the bottom picture, Uncle Arthur had safely jumped from the colliding trains. [Retyped by John A. Leynes Jr., October 1999]

ARCHER (Special) - J. B. Dormany of Tampa, was instantly killed and several other trainmen were slightly injured at 6:50 here this morning in the collision of an Atlantic Coast Line fruit growers express and a Seaboard Airline freight train at the intersection of the two lines.

Approximately 20 cars were piled up in a splintered mass over the Atlantic Coast Line engine, which overturned as it struck the first car behind the tender of the Seaboard Airline regular freight, bound from Tampa to Jacksonville.

Judge B. D. Hiers of Gainesville, after taking testimony of witnesses and members of the train crew, said no inquest would be necessary as he had found "no evidence of criminal negligence."

Sheriff J. P. Ramsey and deputies working out of his office assisted in the investigation. A wrecking crew of the ACL arrived on the scene shortly after 9 o'clock. Trainmen said they did not expect the wreckage to be cleared away before 8 or 9 o'clock tonight.

The trainmaster at the ACL station here said the Atlantic Coast Line train was a "special fruit express bound for northern markets."

All of the injuries to the crews of both trains were said to be of a minor nature.

Engineer C. L. Lewis of the Seaboard train stayed with his engine and was uninjuried as the impact pulled the cars loose from the tender and the engine stayed on the tracks. "I called to Dormany not to jump", Lewis said. He added that he and Dormany had been together on the same run for the last six years.

Three members of the crew of the ACL train received minor bruises and cuts as they jumped from the cab of the engine before the crash. They were D. R. Holland, of Ocala, engineer; A. B. Crevasse, brakeman; and the negro fireman, Walter Howard of High Springs. The cab in which they had been riding was demolished.

Other members of the Seaboard crew were J. T. Willis, conductor; C. F. Sparkman, flagman; W.C. Simms, brakeman. None were seriously injuried. C. Livingston, conductor, and V. C. Cason, flagman of the ACL also escaped without injury.

One hobo riding the Seaboard Airline freight train miraculously escaped death or serious injury as he walked from the center of the demolished cars without a scratch. "I had just dozed off to sleep and woke up with splintered wood flying all around me," he said.

Police Chief T. F. Spires said Dormany was crushed by a tank car which overturned on him when it was hit by the ACL locomotive. Had Dormany remained in the cab, Spires said, he probably would have escaped even slight injury.

Spires said Buster (Red) Winn, watchman at the crossing, stated he had given the Seaboard train the right of way and when he heard the ACL train approaching and tried to flag it down.

The officers quoted ACL engineer Holland an saying he was unable to halt the train short of the crossing after he saw Winn waving him to stop.

Atlantic Coast Line officials said seven of their cars were demolished, while it was estimated that from 12 to 15 cars of the Seaboard freight were in the pile of wreckage.

A Dewitt C. Jones Company ambulance of Gainesville transferred the body of Dormany to Gainesville where it was shipped to Tampa for burial services. Dormany is survived by his widow, Mrs. Maude M. Dormany; a son, James B. Dormany Jr., and a daughter, Mrs. Fred Lewis, all of Tampa.

Dormany had been employed by the railroad since 1924 and was on the Tampa to Baldwin run.

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Article courtesy of the Gainesville Sun. Used with permission.