McEwen Dies from Crash. Ernie D. McEwen, 55, died at Ellensburg General Hospital at (paper damaged) today [July 12, 1981], without recovering consciousness, after suffering fatal injuries in a collision of his pickup truck with a logging truck early Wednesday. The hospital yesterday after-noon reported McEwen’s injuries of a basal skull fracture, punctured lung and seven broken ribs.
McEwen’s death is the seventh from traffic accidents in Kittitas County this year and the (paper damaged) from accidents occurring off a (paper damaged) highway. Fatalities number five and six were the deaths of two children, Earl Ray Bougher, the (paper damaged) and his brother, William Carl Bougher, six months, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond L. Bougher of Wapato. At this time last year, 10 accident fatalities had occurred in this county, the state patrol reported.
A light 1936 Ford pickup driven by McEwen was struck in the center of the right side by a heavy logging truck owned by Contratio Bros. When McEwen received his fatal injuries. The driver of the truck was Vernon D. Callaghan, 37, of Ellensburg. The accident occurred at 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, in the middle of the intersection of Fairview road and Schnebly road, approximately six mile northeast of Ellensburg. Mrs. Ralph Charlton of Ellensburg was killed in an accident at the same intersection a few years ago.
The logging truck, not loaded, was traveling north on Fairview Road, bound for the Colockun District, where Contratto Bros. Are conducting logging operations. McEwen’s pickup was eastbound on Schnebly Road when the accident happened. Callaghan is reported to have told State Patrol Officer Pat McCarthy that vision at the intersection was obscure by dust from a car traveling ahead of the log truck, which had crossed the intersection just before the crash. The state patrol still has the accident under investigation.
McEwen was born in Ellensburg, the son of Harvey and Martha McEwen. Kittitas valley pioneers of 1871. He was a rancher and stockman in Kittitas valley all his life and had been active in the Ellensburg Rodeo since its beginning. McEwen worked in the Rodeo arena for many years and was a familiar figure to Rodeo fans who watched him year after year in Rodeo competition here. He was a past winner of the Kittitas county roping contest.
McEwen had an interest in a valley ranch and for the past 10 years had been employed by Hinman and Vining, local stock ranchers. He leaves a widow, Eva McEwen, Route 3, Ellensburg, whom he married here August 21, 1916. He is also survived by a daughter, Mrs. Charles Ring, Wilbur; two sisters, Mrs. Ralph Wheeler and Mrs. Lou Evans, both of Toppenish; three brothers, Oscar McEwen, Ellensburg; Carl McEwen, Seattle, and Clarence McEwen, Renton, and by one grandchild.
Funeral services for McEwen will be conducted Saturday, July 14, at 2 p.m., in the Honeycutt-Evenson chapel, with the Rev. Fred Towne officiating. Committal will follow in the IOOF. cemetery.
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman