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Car Accident Kills Three

Dixon Evening Telegraph August 15, 1949

Mrs. Bohn is booked for Manslaughter

By Bryn Griffiths (City Editor Evening Telegraph) 15 August 1949

An automobile accident at 6:20 Saturday Night 3 miles south of Dixon on State Hwy 26 snuffed out the lives of three Harmon residents, today resulted in a manslaughter charge being preferred against Mrs. Mary Ann Bohn,the driver of one of the two cars involved in the tragedy. A warrant charging Mrs. Bohn with manslaughter was to be served on her today at the KSB hospital where she is confined because of injuries sustained in the crash.

A charge of driving while drunk will be filed against Mr. Roy D. Fox owner of the Lincoln convertible which was driven by Mrs. Bohn. Mrs. Bohn and Fox were together at the time of the crash.

Killed in the crash were:

Mrs. Mary Ellen McCormick, 62, Harmon. She is the mother of Mrs. Fred Chiverton 212 S. Dement Ave. Dixon.

Miss Joan Lally 18, Harmon (Mrs. McCormick's neice) daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Lally.

Miss Mary Kay Powers 14, Harmon (Mrs. McCormicks Grandaughter) daughter of Mr.and Mrs. Fred Powers.

The Injured are:

Miss Donna Powers 19, Harmon, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Powers. Donna was driving the Chevrolet in which the three persons were killed. Her condition is serious but she is expected to live.

Mr. Robert D. Fox 27 head injuries and lacerations.

Mrs. Mary Ann Bohn, 24 Franklin Grove, head and face lacerations

The crash occured three miles south of the Dixon city limits almost in front of the Oscar Matzinger farm home on route 26.

State police who arrived on the scene of the crash shortly after it happened gave this version of the accident:

Donna Powers was driving a two door Chevrolet sedan from Harmon to Dixon with her sister Mary Kay, Mrs. Mary McCormick and Joan Lally as passengers. Mrs. Mary Ann Bohn was driving a new Lincoln convertible from Dixon heading South. Ray D. Fox, owner of the Lincoln was a passenger. It was learned later that only a few minutes before the crash he had been driving but turned the wheel over to Mrs. Bohn.

In negotiating a curve on the highway at a point just south of the railroad crossing and adjoining the Matzinger farm, the Lincoln swung wide to the top of the turn getting into the North bound lane of traffic in which the Powers car was approaching. The Powers evidently tried to cut over to the left side of the road in an attempt to avoid the crash . Mrs. Bohn evidently made a desperate attempt to get back onto the south bound lane at the same time.

The right hand sides of both cars was demolished as was the front end of the Lincoln.

Either the great speed of the Lincoln or its weight and speed, carried the lighter Chevrolet quite a distance down the highway where they became disengaged and the Lincoln caromed down the concrete for about another 75 feet where it went into a ditch. Mrs. McCormick and Joan Lally were killed outright. Mary Kay Powers, sister of Donna, driver of the Chevrolet, died in the hospital late Saturday night. She had sustained head injuries, a broken jaw and several lacerations.

Saturday night Donna indicated to officials investigating the accident that she tried to avoid the oncoming heavy Lincoln and shouted to the passengers with her "we are going to get hit". When state police arrived on the scene later she was sobbing and talking incoherently.

Officers called the Melvin ambulance from Dixon and the injured were taken to the KSB hospital. The bodies of Mrs. McCormick and Joan Lally were removed to the Jones funeral home.

At the inquest held Sunday morning at the Jones funeral home it was learned that Mrs. Bohn and Mr. Fox had been drinking at a Dixon tavern and had purchased a fifth of gin and a fifth of whiskey. Neither of the bottles were opened however and the seals were intact.

When questioned by authorities Saturday night Mrs. Bohn stated that she did not remember driving the car. Later she indicated that she did recall driving it. Fox told authorities that the last thing he remembered was turning the wheel over to Mrs. Bohn.

If convicted on the manslaughter charged filed today, Mrs. Bohn can be sent to prison for 14 years.

It was indicated by friends of the Lally, McCormick and Powers families that suits may also be instituted against a tavern where Fox and Mrs. Bohn bought drinks. Under and amendment to the Dram act signed by Governor Stevenson last week, the liability of tavernkeepers is now limited to $15,000 for each death in which cases where it is established that the deaths were caused by drivers under the influence of liquor.

In June this year, Mrs. Bohns husband committed suicide.

Roy Fox, who was with Mrs. Bohn has been separated from his wife for several weeks. He formerly had a milk route in and around Amboy. He sold the route recently and has been living at a hotel in Dixon part of the time and also on his parents farm in Sublette. His mother and father are both in a Mendota hosptial. His mother has been quite ill and his father was injured in an automobile accident about 10 days ago.

Mrs. Bohn is the younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Crug Kennay of Franklin Grove.

Dixon Evening Telegraph - 31 January 1950

Shortly after the probation hearing of Mrs. Mary Ann Bohn ended today, three attorneys, Circuit Judge George C. Dixon, and States Attorney Morey C. Pires set dates for four civil suits against Mrs. Bohn and Robert Fox.

The three attorneys were Ralph Eaton and Gerald Fearer who will again defend Mrs. Bohn and Lloyd Scriven who'll defend Mr. Fox.

The suits which amount to claims of $55,000 in damages were filed by relatives of the three Harmon residents who were killed in an accident Aug. 13 on Route 26.

Plantiffs are Ray Lally, father of Joan Lally; Fred Powers, father of Mary Powers; and Edward McCormick, son of Mrs. Edward McCormick.

The fourth suit was filed by Donna Powers driver of the car who was injured in the crash.

The Lally case was set for Apr 17, the Powers case for Apr. 24, the McCormick one for May 1, and Donna Powers case for May 8.

Dixon Evening Telegraph - 14 April 1950

Suits springing from the tragic accident Aug. 13 that took the lives of three Harmon residents reached over the $100,000 mark today. Three complaints filed by survivors and the driver of the car in which the trio was killed asked for $47,500 from tavernkeepers and building owners charged with selling liquor to Mary Ann Bohn 26, Franklin Grove and Robert Fox, 25, Sublette.

The three named were James Farster, Raymond Moeller and Otto Witzleb through Dixon, Devine and Bracken. The survivors said Witzleb owned the building occupied by the Family Liquor store, 318 West First.

It named Farster and Moeller as those who rented the building from Witzleb and sold liquor to Mrs. Bohn and Fox.

Previously damage suits were filed against Bohn and Fox for a total of $55,000.

Fred M. Powers has a total of $30,000 in suits in connection with the death of his 14 year old daughter Mary Kay. One asks for $15,000 from Mrs. Bohn and Fox charged with driving the car that killed the Harmonites, the other asks an equal amount from Farster, Moeller and Witzleb.

(Fox pleased guilty to drunken driving in the case and was fined $100 plus costs. Mrs. Bohn pleaded guilty to reckless driving, was fined $1,000 dollars and placed on probation for five years)

Edward J. McCormick executor of the estate of Marie McCormick who also was killed in the crash on Traverse curve four miles south of Dixon, has asked for $17,500 judgment against Bohn and Fox.

Donna Powers is asking for $7,500 in connection with injuries received and for $7,500 from the tavernkeepers. She also is asking $10,000 from the tavernkeepers support when her grandmother Marie McCormick was killed.

Dixon Evening Telegraph - 03 May 1950

Four damage suits against Mary Ann Bohn Franklin Grove and Robert Fox, Sublette, for $55,000 were tentatively settled out of court Tuesday, but the cases have not been dismissed.

No figure is available.

The complaints sprang from an accident Aug. 13 on Traverse Curve that took the lives of three Harmon women.

Mrs. Bohn and Fox were charged by the survivors of the victims with reckless driving. Mrs. Bohn pleaded guilty to reckless homicide two months ago.

Three of the four suits were scheduled to go before a jury starting Monday May 8th. It was understood however, that Atty. Robert L. Bracken who represents the plaintiffs asked that no vinere be called but the cases have not been dismissed.

The fathers of two girls killed in the accident, Ray Lally and Fred Powers asked $15,00 each in damages.

The son of the 3rd victim Edward J. McCormick asked $17,500 in connection with the death of his mother.

The only survivor in the Harmon car, Donna Powers, asked $7,500 for injuries.

The women killed were Mrs. Edward McCormick 62, Mary Kay Powers, 14 and Joan Lally 17.

Dixon Evening Telegraph - 02 October 1950

... Two other dram shop suits will come up later. They've been filed by Fred M. Powers in connection with the death of Mary Kay Powers and by Ray Lally in connection with the death of his daughter Joan. Both suits asking $15,000

Previously three damage suits totalling $47,500 were settled out of court.

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