|Birth: ||Nov. 5, 1925|
|Death: ||Jan. 19, 1960|
AMARILLO (UPI) - Did the clanging bells and blinking lights of the railroad crossing panic Dr. Robert Lee Brown as the Santa Fe Chief highballed toward Amarillo, the whistle shrieking in the cold, crisp air?
That's one of the questions the Department of Public Safety is trying to answer today.
The train smashed into the Brown's car at an S-shaped curve, just 200 yards outside the Amarillo city limits Tuesday night and killed Dr. Brown, 37, a prominent veterinarian, his wife Dorothy, 34, and two of their three children, David, 6, and Robert Jr., 9.
Sharon, 11, died early this morning after brain surgery. She stopped breathing twice during the operation, then finally died at 12:40 a.m.
The train, traveling 79 miles per hour, was en route from San Francisco to Chicago when it crushed the car and hurled bodies and twisted wreckage 200 yards down the track.
An air of mystery surrounds the accident.
Engineer W.W. Wheeler said he saw the car pull up to the crossing and pause, then just before the train came around, it lurched forward.
"There wasn't a thing I could do," Wheeler said.
Patrolman Fred Lenz of the DPS said Dr. Brown might have been too close to the tracks and the blinking lights and bells as the safety bar dropped across the right side of the road may have panicked him.
"His foot may have hit the accelerator, or he may have tried to back up but put the car in the wrong gear and shot forward," Lenz said. "He may have gotten caught underneath the gate as it dropped, or he may have passed it on the left side. There wasn't a scratch on the gate."
It was also learned that the DPS was investigating the possibility the accident was no accident, but officers declined to comment on this theory.
Ironically, at the time of the accident city officials were meeting with representatives of the State Highway Department completing plans to build an overpass at the crossing.
Dr. Brown and his family recently moved back to this area from Wycotte, N.J., where he had been employed with a drug firm. He joined Dr. J.L. Markham in a veterinary clinic at Canyon, Tex., about 20 miles south of Amarillo.
(Published in Borger News Herald, January 20, 1960)
Interment: January 21, 1960
Robert Lee Brown (1922 - 1960)*
Robert H. Brown (1950 - 1960)*
Sharon M. Brown (1950 - 1960)*
David B. Brown (1954 - 1960)*
Plot: Section E Lot 22 Space 2
Created by: Walter Dunn
Record added: Apr 19, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19006826