Leonidas Fatal Accident

How a hardware store became a truck stop…

From The Colon Express, January 28, 1943: “Glenn Olney , prominent Leonidas farmer, is dead, a truck driver in the hospital, and the Crawford Hardware Store and building in Leonidas is badly wrecked, the result of an accident at the main corners in our neighboring village Wednesday afternoon. The accident happened about 2:30 yesterday afternoon. A Midway transport truck, loaded with 12 tons of steel, coming into town on M-60 from the west, attempted to turn off the pavement onto the street north, to avoid hitting the Lewis Abradt car, which had just left the Hetletwedt filling station to come onto the pavement. The truck driver evidently lost control of his truck after hitting the Abradt car and driving onto the icy street made it impossible for brakes to be effective and the truck plowed several feet up the steps of the Tom Crawford hardware on the corner, crashed head-on through the store front and when it finally came to a stop practically the entire truck was inside the store, the rear wheels resting on the steps and the motor or cab being very near the back of the store. The most serious part of the freak accident was the killing of Glenn Olney. Glenn had been across the street conversing with Grover Lowther in the post office. He started across the street just as the truck came up, and it is believed he attempted to get out of the way by going up the steps of the hardware. The rear wheels of the truck caught him on the steps and he was killed instantly. The truck driver escaped from the cab just as it struck the building and he was injured by falling brick from the second story of the building. He was taken to the hospital. Mr. Crawford and two customers, Bert DeVrees and Hosea Kellar, were sitting in the rear of the store and escaped just in time. Leonidas was packed with people last evening, taking a look at the almost unbelievable sight, and workmen were attempting to remove the truck from the store, which was done late in the evening. The hardware stock was badly damaged and the entire front of the store wrecked, a large section of brick from the upper story falling with the impact. Mr. Olney’s body was taken to the Roy Olney undertaking parlors at Mendon, they being brothers. Glenn was a life-long resident of Leonidas township, and lived on the old Olney homestead, a mile southwest of King’s mill. He leaves his wife, Addie (Canfield) Olney, and a daughter, Mrs. William Shiveley, of Battle Creek.”