I've frittered away too much time this morning trying to date these accident photographs from the historical society collection, taken by Lloyd Moore.
The setting is a familiar one --- the Rock Island (now Union Pacific) overpass on old Highway 34 near the east edge of Chariton. It doesn't look that much different now than it did then. The truck was westbound, headed into town, when it smashed into a buttress.
I think the date on the license plate of the car in the foreground reads "1941" --- the "4" is distinct, but the "1" isn't. Vegetation suggests that the image was taken at midsummer or later.
The best I could do was an accident that occurred on Aug. 5, 1941, when a truck driven by Rex Griswold, 25, of Macksburg, smashed into the buttress about 7 a.m. He was driving a 1940 International truck transporting a load of coal and the impact of the crash pushed the engine into the cab, trapping Griswold, who had to be cut from the vehicle. He died later at Yocom Hospital.
The Herald-Patriot of Aug. 7 published a photograph, but the digitalized image is so bad it can't be deciphered.
The only thing missing in the photos is the coal --- it reportedly was scattered over a radius of about 100 yards. If it had all ben cleaned up by the time these photographs were taken later in the day, it had been a thorough job.
I've gone as far as I'm going to go with this one, but anyone else who wants to work more on this minor puzzle is welcome to do so.