Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada on November 28, 1980 · Page 3
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Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada · Page 3

Reno, Nevada
Issue Date:
Friday, November 28, 1980
Page 3
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Reno Evening Gazette Friday, November 28, 19803 TT Virginia Douglas Alley 4r Harold's Club Nevada Club National 2s6 Street ! m 1 Cai Neva I Club ! tl I ose was 'a very nice lady' By CORY FARLEY Josephine Starkey and Lewis Smith talked at 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving, as they did at 5 every weekday morning. "She was just as chipper and happy as she always was," Smith recalls. "She was excited. She was going to work, but she had an appointment downtown afterward. She was going to have a Thanksgiving dinner that evening." Ten hours later, Starkey had finished her shift at the Cal Neva Club. She left work and walked along South Virginia Street, presumably on her way to dinner. When a car careened along the busy sidewalk, for what reason no one vet knows, Josie Starkey was killed. Smith, who works in the Hotel Abbay, where Starkey has lived almost seven years, is angry. "She was one of the best friends I had." he said Friday morning, kneeling in a kitchen chair in front of the fireplace in the lobby of the hotel, at 834 B St. "We would talk every morning at 5 a.m. when she came down to go to work." He rubbed an unshaven face, then wiped his hand on rumpled plaid pants. "She was a verv nice lady." John Breslin, another of the Hotel Abbay's tenants, sat down with Smith and a visitor. "1 can't believe it." he said. "I talked with her just before. She was so happy." Josephine Starkey Josie Star-key was 50. She'd been a waitress at the Cal-Neva forever, as waitress jobs go: since Aug. 11, 1974. Co-workers describe her as "cheerful" and "a hard worker." "Everybody liked Josie," said Bill Lorenzo of the Cal Neva. "She'd been around here so long. She did a good job. In fact, she just received our employee of the month award, for exemplifying the spirit of the club. Her picture will be on the cover of our employee newsletter next month." Everybody in the Hotel Abbay liked Josie Starkey, too. From the street, it's a shabby, rundown place. But in the cozy, sparkling-clean lobby Friday morning there was a fire in the fireplace, and Josie Slarkey's friends mourned her. Smith said his wife, Kay, was among her best friends. "They'd sit up on the couch and talk for hours. My wife is very upset. She and Josie . . .." He shrugged. Lorraine Morrison, another Hotel Abbay employee, said Star-key "Had been here a long time. She'd lived here so long. We all liked her." "I just can't believe it." Breslin repeated. "She was so nice." Ford profile (Continued from Page 1) gistered the 1974 Lincoln, which she had purchased in Portland, Mrs. Crawford recalled. "She seemed to have as much money as she needed." the town manager said Ms. Ford apparently didn't know anybody in town, but on several occasions expressed a desire to settle there, meeting on one occasion with a real estate agent about the possibility of buying a home. "While she was here, we didn't see very much of her. She stayed in her room." said ?lrs. Thomas. "She kept prettv much to herself." Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Crawford said the mysterious stranger told (hem her daughter "was stolen" from her. but did not go into details about the case. Ms. Ford's supervisor at Macys' gift wrap department, the operator of a Reno rest home where Ms Ford had w orked in 1973 and Reno police records provide a different version of the alleged kidnapping. The supervisor, Mrs. Gloria Borden, said that in the two weeks Ms. Ford has been working as a temporary Christmas gift wrapper for Macys, Ms. Ford has told her this: Seven years ago. she worked in a private rest home for room and board for her and her 11 year-old daughter. The woman who ran the rest home had her arrested for trespassing. As a result, authorities placed the daughter in Wittenberg Hall, the juvenile detention facility. Tm thankful I'm alive' By MICHAEL PHILLIS and PHIL BARBER "I'm thankful I'm alive; I've never seen anything like it," Marty Edmondson said after witnessing the carnage caused by a car speeding along a downtown Reno sidewalk Thanksgiving Day. Ms. Edmondson, of Reno, was leading a grdup of holiday visitors on a tour on Virginia Street between Second Street and Commercial Row when she saw a blue Lincoln speeding down the crowded sidewalk. "She came right at us, she came right at us with a body still on the hood of the car and she looked like she was looking for somebody else to hit," Ms. Edmondson said. Police have identified the driver as Priscilla Jones Ford. 51, of Reno. She has been booked on five counts of murder and 21 counts of attempted murder. A Wittenberg spokesman Thursday night said records are not kept at the facility itself. In any event, he said, they would involve a juvenile and could not be made public. Joan Austin, operator of Highland Manor Rest Home for the last 4'- years, said she recalled Ms. Ford. She said Ms. Ford had been a cook. Reno police records confirm Mrs. Austin's contention that her mother in-law. whose name also is Joan Austin and who was operating the rest home in 1973. had fired Ms. Ford and that Ms. Ford returned and tried to strike the elder Mrs. Austin, who had her arrested. Police records show Ms. Ford was arrested on misdemeanor charges ol trespassing and assault and battery. Both charges were dismissed. Police records also show Ms. Ford has been known by the names Lawrence. Page. Scott and Wagner. They show her only prior arrest in Reno was in connection with the incident at the rest home. Police said Ms. Ford was born in Berrien Springs, Mich. She is 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighs 125 pounds and has brown eyes and black hair. Her car is registered to Priscilla Ford, P.O. Box 402, Jackman. Maine. Jackman, with a population of 850. is a key border checkpoint on the principal route between Maine and Quebec. It's also a popular jumping-off spot for hunters and fishermen. Patty McClain of Hayward, Calif., said she had just walked out of Fitzgerald's Hotel-Casino onto Virginia Street when she heard an explosion that, "sounded almost like a plane coming down." She said she saw the car coming down the sidewalk across the street "like it was crazy. It was wiping out everything. It must have been doing 80 miles or more right smack through everybody." A couple from Canada in the emergency room of Washoe Medical Center, waiting for word on injured friends, recounted the horror they saw on Virginia Street as they emerged from the Onslow Hotel-Casino. "It looked as though someone had gone through the streets with a lawnmover, mowing people down," the woman said. "It looked like a battlefield there were bodies all over the place." Three hours after the incident, a young woman sat crying in the lobby of the Reno police station. A man holding her hand said, "Her sister was killed." Earlier, police had assembled about 40 witnesses in the police squad room. As police questioned them and read their statements, an officer marked on a chalk board diagram where they were when the car smashed through people walking on Virginia Street. The police traffic division began the investigation, but quickly turned the investigation over to detectives who took charge of taking witnesses' statements. Reno Police Officer Pam Engle made the initial report of a car plowing through crowds of people. Police said she had to dodge the car herself when it began its death rampage at Second and Virginia streets. Police said the car was northbound on Virginia at 2:59 p.m. when it suddenly swerved onto the east sidewalk in front of the Club Cal Neva, south of Second Street. One police officer said witnesses reported that at one point the car's windshield was completely covered with people, and when the car stopped, the people fell off and the car then continued forward. An officer said one victim's leg was torn off. Veteran traffic officers said they had never seen such human destruction. Reno television station reporter Karen Zupon said about five minutes before the incident, she and a cameraman had been interviewing people in the very spot on the sidewalk where the incident occurred. She said, "We were asking what people were tltankful for." Deputy District Attorney Don Nomura, who attempted to question the woman driver of the death car at Washoe Medical Center while a blood sample was being taken, said she appeared sober. He said she declined to give him a statement. Approximate path death car took as it drove north on the east sidewalk of Virginia Street from Second Street to Douglas Alley, according to Reno police . V X' 1 VVrt vVS;"'' jZ 'v,vi fr h&s&j?r T it&;c wv - v- A I i? Vtv W v ('tf photo by Manlv't Newton Capynghf Reno Evening Gazette Shock and grieved, an unidentified woman and boy kneel alongside one of the victims Thursday Dead and Soft sobs in hosptial halls as victims aided injured The Washoe County Coroner's office has identified the dead as: Iva Britain, 80, Reno. Jolene Cranmer, 20, from Horse-head, N.Y. visiting friends in Sun Valley. John Koschella, 60. Reno. Paul A. Nitzcl, 73, Sunnyvale, Calif. Josephine Starkey, 50, Sparks. Following is a list of all the injured, what Information is available on their condition and the hospital where they were treated: Washoe Medical Center Doris Dickinson, 33. 1502 1 St., No. 4, Sparks satisfactory condition. Iva Mae Grover, 56. 379 Lee Ridge Road, Edmonton, Alberta. Canada critical, intensive care unit. Ralph Hansen, 62. 2006 Prater Way, No. 89, Sparks serious condition. Bob Haun, 57, 90 West Central, Kmmett, Idaho intensive care unit, critical condition. Shirley Haun, 45, 90 West Central. Kmmett Idaho satisfactory. Bennie Kahurama. physician. 38. Star Route 4, Bakersfiekl serious condition. Jean Kohler, 51, Lebanon, Ore. critical, intensive care unit. Anna Massingham. 30, 3851 Place Road. F'all Creek, Ore. satisfactory Daniel Massingham, 41, Fall Creek. Ore. discharged. Patricia Taylor. 30, 63 High St.. Reno satisfactory. Karen Todd. 28. South Lake Tahoe discharged. Shirley Trujillo. 42, 1940'- Prater Way, Sparks serious condition. Alice Watanabe. 46, Hawaii discharged. Yasuki Watanabe. 50. Hawaii discharged. St. Mary's Hospital Wallace Habib, no age given. Ba-kersfield. Calif. serious. Lizzie Hanson, 70, Sparks critical, intensive care unit. Oswald Hoffman, 62. Sacramento serious Allen K Lee, 44, British Columbia. Canada discharged. Evelyn Lee, 73. British Columbia. Canada fair. Helene Matoone. 59, Reno fair, intensive care unit, Cal Neva employee. Steven Miller, 20, Reno discharged Mary Palacios, 37, San Jose fainted at scene, discharged. Gerald Roth. 51. Reno, discharged. Mary Saranpaa. discharged. Ronald Stevens. 46. no address listed - discharged. Taxi driver for the Reno-Sparks Cab Co. By HENRIETTA CHARLES Washoe Medical Center and St. Mary's Hospital had an air of quiet concern and dedication as doctors and nurses worked on the more than 20 people injured in Thursday's auto rampage in downtown Reno Outside the emergency rooms, the soft sobs of friends and relatives of the victims echoed through the corridors. Hospital workers answered the nearly non-stop phone calls of those wondering if one of their friends or loved ones had been injured or killed when car plowed through crowds on busy downtow n sidewalks for at least a block and a half. Spokesmen for both hospitals said the crisis was handled in an orderly manner while maintaining adequate care and attention to other patients. "We were very busy with four cardiacs, some related to this inci dent and some not, the 19 people brought here from this situation and our normal patient load," explained Dick Rhyno, director of public relations for Washoe Medical Center. "But we were well prepared and things went smoothly for the most part." Rhyno said six extra nurses were called in to handle the situation. This morning, Rhyno quoted Anna Massingham. one of the victims, as saying, "Everyone at the scene of tha accident did a good job. They kept my husband and I together." Rhyno also said a tour bus full of people offered to donate blood and were referred to the Nevada Blood Service. Ron Scovill, director of ambulatory services at St. Mary's, said the scene was much the same at his hospital as they treated the 11 victims brought there. "We had no problems here." Scovill said. "We had lots of beds and were able to admit anybody who needed hospitalization. We also had a number of doctors on duty who were able to handle any of the various medical problems." Both hospitals experienced some delays in identifying the injured, but officials said that wasn't a major concern. "We just wanted to be sure we were doing everything we could to treat these people and save their lives," said Rhyno. Dispatchers for the various Reno-area ambulance services, who transported the injured, said their switchboards were jammed with calls from casinos, individuals and public service agencies indicating there were a number of injured people strewn on the streets and sidewalks of the downtown area. "I think at one point almost every ambulance in town was tied up on this thing," one driver said. iiW.i i, .m,,vm.mmKmi;lmf, Jiwp!8'iii0i'iiwwitit j-w 4 . " A Reno policeman and security guard crowds on Virginia Street Thanksgiving G i:e'e pnot'J by Morten Nf?wtoi". Copvf'Qn- R&no Evening Gazette an injured pedestrian hit by a car that careened into Day

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