County’s Fifth Death of 1954
Rutherford County’s fifth highway fatality of the year was chalked up at 6:40 a.m. Saturday when John McClaren Lawrence, 15, Cliffside high school student, died in the Rutherford hospital of injuries received Friday night at 9:30 p.m. when the car in which he was riding was wrecked on Highway No. 120 one mile north of Cliffside.
According to State Highway Patrolman Earl Hatcher, who investigated the wreck, assisted by Deputy Sheriff Harvey Moore, Lawrence was a passenger in a 1949 Chevrolet driven by Shelba Jane Packard, accompanied by Shirley Ruppe, Joe Griffin and Rebecca Callahan, all Cliffside high school students.
They had driven to a refreshment stand on US 74 on the Rutherford Cleveland line and were returning home. Miss Packard apparently lost control of the car. It left the highway on the left, traveled several hundred feet, hit a tree and turned over several times. All the occupants were injured. Lawrence was thrown to the pavement and suffered head injuries. He was taken to the hospital where he died Saturday morning without regaining consciousness. Still hospitalized are Rebecca Callahan who suffered a broken pelvis, and Joe Griffin who suffered head injuries. The others were discharged following treatment.
A second automobile, following the death car, and driven by Joe Boyce Watkins of Cliffside and accompanied by Jimmy Ingram was wrecked. In trying to avoid hitting the wrecked car, he ran off the right side of the road and turned over, demolishing his 1940 Chevrolet sedan. Both cars were a complete loss. Watkins was injured, but was discharged after treatment.
Officers are continuing the investigation into the wreck.
Young Lawrence ia a son of Rev. and Mrs. Tom S. Lawrence of Cliffside. Mr. Lawrence is pastor of the First Baptist church of Cliffside. Young Lawrence was born in Forsyth county, and was a student at Cliffside high school. He is survived by his parents, Rev. and Mrs. Lawrence, one brother, Marcus Lawrence and one sister, Miss Jane Lawrence, both of Cliffside.
Funeral services were held at the Cliffside Baptist church this Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. with Dr. H. H Stembridge, of Forest City, Rev. Harold White and Rev. Willis Bennett officiating. Burial was in Olive Chapel Baptist cemetery in Wake County.
Coroner Fred Crowe said there will be no inquest.
Clipping provided by Don Bailey