County Man Dies in Mishap

A 30-year-old rural Harvey County resident became Harvey County’s eighth traffic fatality of 1977 early today after the pickup truck he was driving crashed into a concrete bridge railing south of Burrton.  The eight fatalities for the year are the highest since a similar number was recorded in 1972.  He was identified as Norman R. Thornhill, Jr., Route 3, Newton, who was pronounced dead at the scene by Dr. Carl O. Tompkins, coroner.  His injuries were described as a broken neck, crushed chest, facial lacerations, and a broken left leg.  His body was removed to the Kaufman Funeral Home at Halstead.  Thornhill, who resided four miles east of Elbing on 1st Street and a mile south in Butler County, was alone in a borrowed pickup, sheriff’s investigators said.  The accident occurred one-half mile east of County Road 785 on County Road 576 shortly after midnight.  Thornhill’s body was discovered by Steven R. Shepherd of Halstead, who told officers he saw what he believed to be a similar vehicle speeding east on County Road 576 a short time earlier.  Officers said chunks of concrete from the bridge railing, vehicle parts, and contents of the car, including some fresh deer meat, were scattered along the roadway.  They estimated the truck’s speed at 60 to 70 miles an hour.  There was a dense fog at the time and visibility was reported as zero.  Investigators learned that a short time prior to the accident Thornhill had been at the home of Clarence Williams in Burrton, where Dennis D. Dick, Route 2, Burrton, also was present.  Dick said he had loaned Thornhill his 1976 model pickup.  Thornhill’s occupation was listed as a musician with an area band.  He formerly lived in Halstead.

Norman Thornhill Jr.  Services for Mr. Thornhill will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. Monday (January 2, 1977) at First United Methodist Church in Halstead, of which he was a member.  Rev. John H. Hastings will officiate and burial will be in the Halstead Cemetery.  He was born September 2, 1947, at Sacramento, Calif.  He had lived in Halstead since 1954.  He played drums for Terry Crane and the Blue Diamonds Band.  He was also a member of the Musicians Union.  Survivors include his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Thornhill Sr., Halstead; one brother, Lance, Halstead; grandparents, Mrs. Estella Cochran, Halstead, and Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Thornhill, Hutchinson.  Calling time at Kaufman Funeral Home, Halstead, will be from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Sunday, and from 9:00 am until noon Monday.  (The Newton Kansan, Newton Kansas.  Friday, December 30, 1977.  Page 1).

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