Robert Gordon Johnson, World War II CasualtyPorter County Data on World War II Casualties . . . .
Robert Gordon Johnson
Seaman First Class, United States Coast Guard
Date of Birth: December 18, 1927, Washington Township, Porter County, Indiana
Date of Death: December 22, 1946, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana
Burial: Graceland Cemetery, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana
Cause of Death: Automobile Accident
Local Youth Is Killed In Auto Crash
Driver Faces Charge Filed By Prosecutor
Robert Gordon Johnson, Coast Guard Veteran, Dies Early Sunday
Ice on a curve on State Road 49 early Sunday morning was held as the prime factor in the fatal accident in which Robert Gordon Johnson, 19, of this city, was killed instantly.
However, the driver of the car, Wilbur Finn, 24, of 705 Lytle, was charged with driving under the influence of liquor. Through his attorney, James W. Chester, Finn pleaded not guilty when he appeared before Judge Walter Crisman in Porter circuit court.
The accident occurred Sunday at 12:10 a. m. on state rad 49, on a curve at the junction of the road leading to the city's water pumping station at Flint Lake.
According to Sheriff Harry L. Borg, who investigated, Finn lost control of his 1946 Chevrolet sedan, on the ice. He was traveling north toward Chesterton, when the car skidded across the highway to the left side of the road and turned over.
Suffered Broken Neck
Johnson reportedly suffered a broken neck and skull fracture. Finn was apparently uninjured. The window on the right side of the vehicle, where Johnson sat, was smashed and the top of the car was creased on that side, but little other damage was reportedly sustained.
Finn was given a drunkometer test, and Sheriff Borg reports the reading as being 1.74. The state considers 1.5 alcoholic content in the blood sufficient to term an individual as being drunk.
On the basis of evidence uncovered to date, the sheriff and prosecutor have not felt justified in placing a more serious charge against Finn, they stated today to the Vidette-Messenger reporter. The road condition, they report, was the principal factor in the accident. Results of the drunkometer test, however, were such that drunk driving charges were lodged against Finn.
Placed Under Bond
After Finn pleaded not guilty to these charges, his trial was continued until Jan. 3. Finn was placed under $1,000 bond.
Funeral services for young Johnson who reached his 19th birthday only last Wednesday, will be held Tuesday at 2 p. m. at the LePell Funeral home.
A former member of the coast guard, with whom he served for almost 18 months, including overseas duty, Johnson was employed by the Allen Bakery here. He was born Dec. 18, 1927, in Washington township, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Johnson, now residing at 458 S. Campbell street, Valparaiso.
Surviving besides his parents are three sisters, Mary Etta at home, Mrs. Harold Newsom in Washington, D. C., and Mrs. Leonard Christman, Wanatah; three brothers, Creed of Valparaiso, William of Kouts, and James of Michigan City; and also a number of nephews and nieces.
The body may be viewed at LePell funeral home from 7 p. m. tonight until time of services Tuesday. The Rev. Harold Ford of Indianapolis will officiate. Burial will be in Graceland cemetery.
Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; December 23, 1946; Volume 20, Number 145, Page 1, Column 4
Return to List of Porter County World War II Casualties
Information abstracted and transcribed by Steven R. Shook