Tommy Young: The Cousin I Couldn’t Know (52 Ancestors #9)

It was Labor Day, 1960. Tommy Young was 18 and out with his friend Paul Ballman. They were heading east on Main Street on the east side of Columbus, waiting to turn north onto Noe-Bixby Road. Just waiting for a break in the traffic…

Also heading east on Main Street was Willie Martin. Martin was 34, lived in Columbus… and was allegedly drunk. Martin slammed into the back of the car Paul Ballman was driving, sending it into the westbound lanes, where it hit a station wagon.

The crash sent both cars spinning. “Then a violent explosion flung the two teenagers to the pavement with their clothes on fire.”1)“Holiday Auto Deaths Climb to 3 in City,” Columbus Dispatch, 6 Sept 1960, p. 1. Bystanders rushed to their aid, smoldering the flames with blankets.2)“Crash Claims Life of 17-Year-Old,” Sandusky Register, 7 Sept 1960, p. 2.

Tommy and Paul were taken to St. Anthony Hospital. Paul died at 3:50am Tuesday. Tommy died at noon.

Willie Martin was treated for cuts over his left eye and ear. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, failure to keep a safe distance ahead, and no operators license. The police investigated him for second-degree manslaughter in the deaths of Tommy and Paul. (It is unclear how that investigation turned out.)

Friends and family mourned Tommy and Paul together at a double funeral at St. Pius Catholic Church in Reynoldsburg.

Thomas Joseph Young was the second child of my great-uncle Harold and his wife Ann. He was killed by a drunk driver before I was born.

Found on Newspapers.com

References   [ + ]

1. “Holiday Auto Deaths Climb to 3 in City,” Columbus Dispatch, 6 Sept 1960, p. 1.
2. “Crash Claims Life of 17-Year-Old,” Sandusky Register, 7 Sept 1960, p. 2.

4 thoughts on “Tommy Young: The Cousin I Couldn’t Know (52 Ancestors #9)

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      After Tommy’s brother George got married, he told his dad that if he ever had a son, he was going to name him “Thomas.” My great-uncle got upset and said, “You will do no such thing.” Though he never explained, George presumed that it would just be too much of a reminder.

      Reply
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