Discussion:
Archive obit: Donald Turnupseed (he killed James Dean)
(too old to reply)
d***@comcast.net
2005-10-01 03:00:47 UTC
Permalink
TURNUPSEED, DONALD G., Age: 63

Turnupseed, 2nd driver in James Dean crash, dies at 63

Tularean built family electric business as he resisted publicity for 40
years

Donald Turnupseed, the Tulare man who quietly built a family business
and endeavored to maintain his privacy after being involved in the car
accident that killed actor James Dean four decades ago, has died at age
63. Requests for interviews about the Sept. 30, 1955, crash came from
around the world and served as a constant annoyance to Turnupseed.

"That's something that bothered him his whole life. That's not Donald
Turnupseed," said Wally Nelson, president of Turnupseed Electric in
Tulare.

As this year's 40th anniversary of the crash approached, requests for
interviews continued. A German journalist was the last the call, Nelson
said.

"He's been bothered by people constantly trying to write a story."
Nelson said. "There's always somebody calling up or coming to the door.
We had to push them out the door."

Although he has refused interviews for decades, Turnupseed did speak
with the Tulare Advance Register hours after the crash. It occurred
when he pulled his 1950 Ford from Highway 46 onto Highway 41 near
Cholame. Turnupseed's car was struck by a speeding silver grey Porsche
Spyder driven by Dean, who at 24 was the star of three major films. "I
didn't see him coming," Turnupseed said.

Turnupseed was coming home to Tulare from Cal Poly State University,
San Luis Obispo, where he was a student. Dean was in route to a race in
Salinas. His mechanic was a passenger.

Dean, star of "East of Eden" and "Rebel Without a Cause" in 1955 and
"Giant in 1956, died in an ambulance headed for a Paso Robles hospital.
His mechanic, Rolf Wuetherich, was seriously injured but recovered.
Wuetherich died in 1981 in a car crash in West Germany.

On advise from la California Highway Patrol officer, Turnupseed
hitch-hiked to Tulare after the crash. He was treated for a scraped
nose and bruises at Tulare District Hospital.

Extensive investigation of the accident never established guilt, said
C.R. "Budgie" Sturgeon, a partner in Spuhler and Sturgeon Insurance,
which had a policy on Turnupseed's Ford. "It was never established
whose fault it was. It just died."

Turnupseed's family declined to be interviewed for this story. With the
aid of his late parents, Harley and Ruth Turnupseed, the Porterville
native built an electrical contracting business with commercial clients
across the San Joaquin Valley and the central coast. Customers include
Kraft Foods, Haagen Dazs, US Cold Storage and California Milk
Producers, among others. The 48-year old company which employs and
average of 75 workers, has branch offices in Bakersfield and Fresno and
annual sales of about $15 million. "They were tough competitors," said
Al Paggi, owner of Paggi Electric. "As a business person, (Donald
Turnupseed) learned from his dad. His dad was a very, very tough-minded
person. But they never shorted anybody on their work."

Unlike his father, Donald Turnupseed was likeable, but not outgoing,
Paggi said. "You could never get close to Don." The business owner was
quiet even before the crash, Paggi said. The accident probably caused
Turnupseed to be more private still, Paggi said. "More than likely," he
said.

Turnupseed developed a fondness for cars while a student at Tulare
Union High School in the 1940s when he got a Model A, said Al Paggi,
owner of Paggi Electric.

"He turned it into a little race car." Paggi said. Years later, he
built dune buggies, nelson said. "The last 10 years he didn't do that
much," Nelson said. "The last 10 years he didn't do that much," Nelson
said, "He devoted a lot of time to business. Business was his hobby."

Turnupseed was an innovator, including selling clients on preventative
maintenance programs, Nelson said. "They had a chance to fix it before
down time."

Turnupseed was president of the San Joaquin Valley chapter of National
Electrical Contractors Association 1990-94. He handed control of his
company to Nelson last year as his lung cancer progressed. But he kept
close ties to the business, Nelson said.

He is survived by his wife, Mollie Turnupseed, Tulare; two sons, David
and Donald Bruce Turnupseed, both of Tulare; one stepson, Rick Bradley,
Coalinga; one daughter, Peggy Henson, Fresno; and five grandchildren.

Visitation will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Miller's Tulare Funeral
Home. Graveside services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Tulare Cemetery.
Remembrances may be sent to Hospice of Tulare County, 605 W. Willow
Ave, Visalia, CA 93201.

-from the Tulare Advanced Register, July 13/14, 1995
d***@comcast.net
2005-10-01 03:28:21 UTC
Permalink
Imagine having to live with the knowledge you killed James Dean! At
least Buddy Holly's pilot died in the crash!
MGW
2005-10-01 03:45:40 UTC
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Post by d***@comcast.net
Imagine having to live with the knowledge you killed James Dean! At
least Buddy Holly's pilot died in the crash!
Although he was involved in the fatal crash, I think it's taking
things a bit far to say he "killed" Jamess Dean. Wasn't there some
speeding on Dean's part?
--
MGW
Information on Hurricane Assistance - http://uniquelygifted.org/katrina.htm
Charlene
2005-10-01 03:53:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by MGW
Post by d***@comcast.net
Imagine having to live with the knowledge you killed James Dean! At
least Buddy Holly's pilot died in the crash!
Although he was involved in the fatal crash, I think it's taking
things a bit far to say he "killed" Jamess Dean. Wasn't there some
speeding on Dean's part?
There was an interesting analysis on US television some years ago about
the Dean crash. From the location of the vehicles and the damage to the
cars, an engineer working for Failure Analysis Inc. calculated that
Dean was in fact not speeding at the time the two cars hit.

wd41
Brad Ferguson
2005-10-01 08:05:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charlene
Post by MGW
Post by d***@comcast.net
Imagine having to live with the knowledge you killed James Dean! At
least Buddy Holly's pilot died in the crash!
Although he was involved in the fatal crash, I think it's taking
things a bit far to say he "killed" Jamess Dean. Wasn't there some
speeding on Dean's part?
There was an interesting analysis on US television some years ago about
the Dean crash. From the location of the vehicles and the damage to the
cars, an engineer working for Failure Analysis Inc. calculated that
Dean was in fact not speeding at the time the two cars hit.
We had a go at this in a.o in mid-1999. There's a summary of Failure
Analysis's findings within this article:

http://www.exponent.com/about/news/archives/2005/09/27/22.48.15/

You''ll also find a link to the computer animation they used. FA found
that neither Dean nor Turnupseed was speeding at the time of the crash.

(FA is now known as Exponent, Inc., hence the domain name.)
Bill Ragsdale
2005-10-01 04:15:17 UTC
Permalink
Regarding the James Dean crash: My father with the attending physician for
James Dean's mechanic, Rolf Wuertherich. I remember the night when Dad
reported the news at home. A friend of mine bought the (good) driver's side
door off of Turnipseed's car as it matched his damaged door.

I find it hard to agree with the statement Turnipseed was at fault.

James Dean received a speeding ticket on Highway 99 about a hour before this
wreck. A copy is posted here in Woodland at Chubby's Diner with other Dean
memorabilia. Oddly, I happen to have a copy of Dean's death certificate as I
know some of the men who signed it (not my Dad, though).

As the best I remember at the Highway 41/46 split Turnipseed had the right
of way and Dean had an arterial stop sign. Dean was driving directly into
the sun. He did not stop and plowed into the passenger side of Turnipseed's
car. I drove that intersection and left turn many times as I made the trip
from Paso Robles to Fresno to see a girl friend.

I saw the TV special and it appeared to use the present highway alignment
which as been redone several times in the last 50 years. The present
alignment has no stop sign and uses a left turn lane rather than the
original "Y" layout.

Bill Ragsdale

=========
Post by MGW
Post by d***@comcast.net
Imagine having to live with the knowledge you killed James Dean! At
least Buddy Holly's pilot died in the crash!
Although he was involved in the fatal crash, I think it's taking
things a bit far to say he "killed" Jamess Dean. Wasn't there some
speeding on Dean's part?
d***@comcast.net
2005-10-01 04:22:01 UTC
Permalink
James Dean's last words: "That guy's got to stop!"
Bill Schenley
2005-10-01 04:41:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Ragsdale
A friend of mine bought the (good) driver's side
door off of Turnipseed's car as it matched his
damaged door.
Did your friend die in a car accident?

http://www.snopes.com/autos/cursed/spyder.asp
scottla
2005-10-01 10:41:30 UTC
Permalink
I recall reading that the color of Dean's car was a factor. It was a
light gray color, and the time of the accident was dusk. Dean did not
have his headlights on, so it is likely that Turnipseed never saw him.
To this day, I always turn on my headlights, even in the middle of the
day, even when the sun is shining. When people ask me why I do this, I
say, if James Dean had had his headlights on, he would still be alive
today.

scottla
Rob Petrie
2005-10-01 15:43:26 UTC
Permalink
x-no-archive: yes
Post by scottla
I recall reading that the color of Dean's car was a factor. It was a
light gray color, and the time of the accident was dusk. Dean did not
have his headlights on, so it is likely that Turnipseed never saw him.
To this day, I always turn on my headlights, even in the middle of the
day, even when the sun is shining. When people ask me why I do this, I
say, if James Dean had had his headlights on, he would still be alive
today.
As you said, it was dusk when the accident happened to Dean, so
headlights would have helped him.
You having your headlights on in the middle of a bright, sunshiny day
doesn't help you one little bit.
Terry del Fuego
2005-10-01 19:13:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rob Petrie
You having your headlights on in the middle of a bright, sunshiny day
doesn't help you one little bit.
Insurance companies--you know, your precious non-governmental private
organizations--say otherwise.
scottla
2005-10-01 22:23:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rob Petrie
You having your headlights on in the middle of a bright, sunshiny day
doesn't help you one little bit.
Didn't mean to imply that it would. It's just that, if I don't make a
habit of doing it *every* time, I probably wouldn't do it *any* time.
Since I've lived most of my adult life in Seattle, it was kind of a
moot point anyway.
bud smith
2005-10-02 21:15:57 UTC
Permalink
No harm either. Let the guy drive with his lights on if it makes him feel
better. Now if he is talking on his cell phone.........
Post by Rob Petrie
x-no-archive: yes
Post by scottla
I recall reading that the color of Dean's car was a factor. It was a
light gray color, and the time of the accident was dusk. Dean did not
have his headlights on, so it is likely that Turnipseed never saw him.
To this day, I always turn on my headlights, even in the middle of the
day, even when the sun is shining. When people ask me why I do this, I
say, if James Dean had had his headlights on, he would still be alive
today.
As you said, it was dusk when the accident happened to Dean, so
headlights would have helped him.
You having your headlights on in the middle of a bright, sunshiny day
doesn't help you one little bit.
Brad Ferguson
2005-10-01 18:33:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by scottla
I recall reading that the color of Dean's car was a factor. It was a
light gray color, and the time of the accident was dusk. Dean did not
have his headlights on, so it is likely that Turnipseed never saw him.
To this day, I always turn on my headlights, even in the middle of the
day, even when the sun is shining. When people ask me why I do this, I
say, if James Dean had had his headlights on, he would still be alive
today.
I can't tell you the number of times I've been able to easily see a
lights-on oncoming car against sun glare. I always drive with my
lights on. The idea that lights don't help in the daytime is just
plain nonsense.
J.D. Baldwin
2005-10-01 19:43:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Brad Ferguson
I can't tell you the number of times I've been able to easily see a
lights-on oncoming car against sun glare. I always drive with my
lights on. The idea that lights don't help in the daytime is just
plain nonsense.
In some circumstances, they can help, but there are legitimate (and
largely unstudied) questions as to whether we'd be better off if
everyone left his lights on all the time. For one thing, motorcycles
(required to have illuminated headlamps at all times) wouldn't stand
out nearly as well if everyone did the same thing.
--
_+_ From the catapult of |If anyone disagrees with any statement I make, I
_|70|___:)=}- J.D. Baldwin |am quite prepared not only to retract it, but also
\ / ***@panix.com|to deny under oath that I ever made it. -T. Lehrer
***~~~~-----------------------------------------------------------------------
ingrid56
2005-10-01 20:07:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Brad Ferguson
Post by scottla
I recall reading that the color of Dean's car was a factor. It was a
light gray color, and the time of the accident was dusk. Dean did not
have his headlights on, so it is likely that Turnipseed never saw him.
To this day, I always turn on my headlights, even in the middle of the
day, even when the sun is shining. When people ask me why I do this, I
say, if James Dean had had his headlights on, he would still be alive
today.
I can't tell you the number of times I've been able to easily see a
lights-on oncoming car against sun glare. I always drive with my
lights on. The idea that lights don't help in the daytime is just
plain nonsense.
My SUV automatically turns on headlights when the engine starts. I
have no choice but to drive with headlights in the daytime. It's a
very good idea to get into, especially on a gray day when blue/gray
vehicles are very hard to discern. We need all the help we can get
out there on the roads and being *seen* is the most important of all.
Another good idea is to at least turn on headlights in the daytime if
you turn on the wipers, no matter the vehicle color or shape..

Jack
Terry del Fuego
2005-10-02 02:09:56 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 01 Oct 2005 20:07:31 GMT, "ingrid56"
Post by ingrid56
Another good idea is to at least turn on headlights in the daytime if
you turn on the wipers, no matter the vehicle color or shape..
Now the law in California, though it's the kind of common-sense thing
you wish people didn't have to be told.
h***@netburner.net
2005-10-02 04:21:21 UTC
Permalink
All right, someone's got to explain the GREEN BERETS thing to me,
please.

Tommie Hicks
Jim Beaver
2005-10-02 06:03:44 UTC
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Post by h***@netburner.net
All right, someone's got to explain the GREEN BERETS thing to me,
please.
At the end of THE GREEN BERETS, the sun sets into the ocean, which is east
of Vietnam, the setting of the film. A famous goof.

Jim Beaver
ingrid56
2005-10-02 19:48:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim Beaver
Post by h***@netburner.net
All right, someone's got to explain the GREEN BERETS thing to me,
please.
At the end of THE GREEN BERETS, the sun sets into the ocean, which
is east of Vietnam, the setting of the film. A famous goof.
Jim Beaver
What about "Titanic"? The sun is setting behind Jack and Rose as the
ship is sailing WEST.

Jack
ingrid56
2005-10-02 19:48:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Terry del Fuego
On Sat, 01 Oct 2005 20:07:31 GMT, "ingrid56"
Post by ingrid56
Another good idea is to at least turn on headlights in the daytime if
you turn on the wipers, no matter the vehicle color or shape..
Now the law in California, though it's the kind of common-sense thing
you wish people didn't have to be told.
What about the people who don't turn on their headlights at dusk cause
they can still "see" . . . never mind that other drivers might not be
able to see THEM?

Jack
Terry del Fuego
2005-10-02 20:51:41 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 02 Oct 2005 19:48:29 GMT, "ingrid56"
Post by ingrid56
What about the people who don't turn on their headlights at dusk cause
they can still "see" . . . never mind that other drivers might not be
able to see THEM?
They're the same clowns who don't wear seatbelts. Safety is just not
cool. When the concern is for someone _else's_ safety, it's even less
cool.

Me first, me only, me always.
ingrid56
2005-10-02 22:03:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Terry del Fuego
On Sun, 02 Oct 2005 19:48:29 GMT, "ingrid56"
Post by ingrid56
What about the people who don't turn on their headlights at dusk cause
they can still "see" . . . never mind that other drivers might not be
able to see THEM?
They're the same clowns who don't wear seatbelts. Safety is just not
cool. When the concern is for someone _else's_ safety, it's even less
cool.
Me first, me only, me always.
All true. But they don't consider that when someone can't *see* them,
they *also* are likely to be part of a serious/fatal accident. If
they care so much about *me*, they should try to involve being
involved in an accident for their own sake if not anybody else's.
Most people just don't THINK and are either in denial or don't care
about living. Don't even get me started on cellphones being used
while driving. . . . I have enough to do to drive my own vehicle
without having to drive someone else's who is focused on their
cellphone conversation instead of watching where they are going and
what they are doing. I secretly(*) hope they will have a wreck, but
just not involve me! Why this kind of inattentive driving isn't
illegal everywhere is beyond me. Much more important to be ticketed
than not wearing seat belts, imo.

Jack

(*) I guess it's not a secret anymore . . . and I don't care.
Tony Dickson
2005-10-02 20:59:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Terry del Fuego
On Sat, 01 Oct 2005 20:07:31 GMT, "ingrid56"
Post by ingrid56
Another good idea is to at least turn on headlights in the daytime if
you turn on the wipers, no matter the vehicle color or shape..
Now the law in California, though it's the kind of common-sense thing
you wish people didn't have to be told.
I'm just glad that brake lights come on automatically, or people wouldn't
use those, either.
scottla
2005-10-01 22:50:33 UTC
Permalink
There is an interesting movie that features a fictionalized version of
Donald Turnupseed as a character, called "Almost Salinas." It stars
John Mahoney (Frasier's dad) as the owner of a gas station/café near
the location of Dean's fatal accident. There actually is such a place,
although it is not exactly as portrayed in the movie. But the movie was
indeed filmed in that area, around Cholame, and is interesting from
that point of view. IMDB doesn't say that "Almost Salinas" is on DVD
but it shows up on one of my satellite movie channels once in a while.

scottla
Glitter Ninja
2005-10-01 09:39:31 UTC
Permalink
For the love of corn, deb, I know you're a fan but this man did not
kill James Dean. Dean caused the accident himself. What is your
malfunction today? Sheesh.

Stacia
d***@comcast.net
2005-10-01 15:38:37 UTC
Permalink
For the love of corn, deb, I know you're a fan but this man did not
kill James Dean. Dean caused the accident himself. What is your
malfunction today? Sheesh.

OK, maybe I should've posted "Donald Turnupseed, involved in the James
Dean crash"...I don't see why you have to get personal about it, Stacia.
Rob Petrie
2005-10-01 15:40:20 UTC
Permalink
x-no-archive: yes
Post by Glitter Ninja
For the love of corn, deb,
Maybe she loves peas.
Post by Glitter Ninja
I know you're a fan but this man did not
kill James Dean. Dean caused the accident himself. What is your
malfunction today? Sheesh.
OK, maybe I should've posted "Donald Turnupseed, involved in the James
Dean crash"...I don't see why you have to get personal about it, Stacia.
theresa
2005-10-01 16:35:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Glitter Ninja
For the love of corn, deb, I know you're a fan but this man did not
kill James Dean. Dean caused the accident himself. What is your
malfunction today? Sheesh.
Stacia
I read that the insurance investigators, CHP. etc, never came to
any conclusion as to who was at fault, and the matter was
dropped.

I always drive the route when going to visit home (LA) and the
intersection where the crash occurred is somewhere off to the
right of the present intersection, so it is hard to say what
happened just by driving through there. But the Spyder was
extremely low and painted light grey or silver, and the sun was
setting behind Dean as he approached the crossroad, so they
think Turnuspeed never saw him when he made his left turn and
ended up in Dean's path.

I googled the situation and found dozens of arguments/private
investigations of the accident, so I know that the Insurance
Company and California Highway Patrol also recognized there were
too many factors too fuzzy from which to glean conclusions.
Jim Beaver
2005-10-01 21:11:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by theresa
I always drive the route when going to visit home (LA) and the
intersection where the crash occurred is somewhere off to the
right of the present intersection, so it is hard to say what
happened just by driving through there. But the Spyder was
extremely low and painted light grey or silver, and the sun was
setting behind Dean as he approached the crossroad, so they
think Turnuspeed never saw him when he made his left turn and
ended up in Dean's path.
Dean was heading west from Bakersfield to join the 101 at Paso Robles. How
could the sun be setting behind him? (Unless the production designer for
THE GREEN BERETS was somehow involved.)

The sun was behind Turnupseed, obscuring DEAN'S vision, if anyone's.

Jim Beaver
James Neibaur
2005-10-01 21:19:11 UTC
Permalink
Jim Beaver 10/1/05 4:11 PM
Post by Jim Beaver
Dean was heading west from Bakersfield to join the 101 at Paso Robles. How
could the sun be setting behind him? (Unless the production designer for
THE GREEN BERETS was somehow involved.)
I wonder if I am the only one laughing at that parenthetical comment.

JN
Riderhood
2005-10-01 21:51:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Neibaur
Jim Beaver 10/1/05 4:11 PM
Post by Jim Beaver
Dean was heading west from Bakersfield to join the 101 at Paso Robles. How
could the sun be setting behind him? (Unless the production designer for
THE GREEN BERETS was somehow involved.)
I wonder if I am the only one laughing at that parenthetical comment.
JN
No, you're not. I happened to be an extra in that film when it was shot
at Ft. Benning many, many moons ago. Never will forget the Duke and his
foul mouth. BTW, most of the principles are dead now, I guess. Wayne,
David Janssen, Jim Hutton, etc. Along with the beach scene, it will
probably be remembered as a somewhat entertaining propaganda film.

Riderhood
Bill Ragsdale
2005-10-02 17:13:05 UTC
Permalink
Regarding the James Dean crash: My father with the attending physician for
James Dean's mechanic, Rolf Wuertherich. I remember the night when Dad
reported the news at home. A friend of mine bought the (good) driver's side
door off of Turnipseed's car as it matched his damaged door.

I find it hard to agree with the statement Turnipseed was at fault.

James Dean received a speeding ticket on Highway 99 about a hour before this
wreck. A copy is posted here in Woodland at Chubby's Diner with other Dean
memorabilia. Oddly, I happen to have a copy of Dean's death certificate as I
know some of the men who signed it (not my Dad, though).

As the best I remember at the Highway 41/46 split Turnipseed had the right
of way and Dean had an arterial stop sign. Dean was driving directly into
the sun. He did not stop and plowed into the passenger side of Turnipseed's
car. I drove that intersection many times as I made the trip
from Paso Robles to Fresno to see a girl friend.

I saw the TV special and it appeared to use the present highway alignment
which has been redone several times in the last 50 years. The present
alignment has no stop sign, a straight thru lane to Bakersfield and uses a
left turn lane to Fresno rather than the
original "Y" layout with a stop sign.

Bill Ragsdale

=========
Post by MGW
Although he was involved in the fatal crash, I think it's taking
things a bit far to say he "killed" Jamess Dean. Wasn't there some
speeding on Dean's part?
Brad Ferguson
2005-10-02 18:23:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Ragsdale
Regarding the James Dean crash: My father with the attending physician for
James Dean's mechanic, Rolf Wuertherich. I remember the night when Dad
reported the news at home. A friend of mine bought the (good) driver's side
door off of Turnipseed's car as it matched his damaged door.
I find it hard to agree with the statement Turnipseed was at fault.
James Dean received a speeding ticket on Highway 99 about a hour before this
wreck. A copy is posted here in Woodland at Chubby's Diner with other Dean
memorabilia. Oddly, I happen to have a copy of Dean's death certificate as I
know some of the men who signed it (not my Dad, though).
As the best I remember at the Highway 41/46 split Turnipseed had the right
of way and Dean had an arterial stop sign. Dean was driving directly into
the sun. He did not stop and plowed into the passenger side of Turnipseed's
car. I drove that intersection many times as I made the trip
from Paso Robles to Fresno to see a girl friend.
I saw the TV special and it appeared to use the present highway alignment
which has been redone several times in the last 50 years. The present
alignment has no stop sign, a straight thru lane to Bakersfield and uses a
left turn lane to Fresno rather than the
original "Y" layout with a stop sign.
You said much the same thing here when we discussed this in 1999.
You're disagreeing with Exponent's findings based on something that
didn't happen at the scene, viz., that Dean had gotten a speeding
ticket two hours (not one hour) before. No one is denying Dean got a
ticket.

The simulation appeared to me to be using the highway layout as it
existed in 1955, as compared to contemporary photographs. The
simulation contains the stop sign; you can see it. Stop sign or not,
though, Turnupseed turned into Dean's lane; there were skid marks to
prove it. Exponent -- which is really very good at this sort of thing
-- found that Dean was not speeding at the time of the crash, and
provided ample evidence to back its claim. This evidence consists of
where the cars came to rest, and the level of damage they sustained in
the collision. I refer you once again to the web page I cited.
Bill Ragsdale
2005-10-02 22:06:10 UTC
Permalink
Just to amplyfy my post. As I remember the Highway 41/46 junction,
Turnipseed had the right of way on Highway 41 with Dean approaching
eastbound on Highway 46 controlled by an arterial stop sign. In order for
James Dean to be moving at any significant speed he had to have run the stop
sign and then into the right side of Turnipseed's car.

Later, the intersection was realigned to make the Highway 46 straight
through and at present Highway 41 has a left turn lane directly facing the
oncoming Hwy 46 traffic. In the TV special I saw no mention of the highway
redesign.

Bill Ragsdale
Post by Brad Ferguson
You said much the same thing here when we discussed this in 1999.
You're disagreeing with Exponent's findings based on something that
didn't happen at the scene, viz., that Dean had gotten a speeding
ticket two hours (not one hour) before. No one is denying Dean got a
ticket.
The simulation appeared to me to be using the highway layout as it
existed in 1955, as compared to contemporary photographs. The
simulation contains the stop sign; you can see it. Stop sign or not,
though, Turnupseed turned into Dean's lane; there were skid marks to
prove it. Exponent -- which is really very good at this sort of thing
-- found that Dean was not speeding at the time of the crash, and
provided ample evidence to back its claim. This evidence consists of
where the cars came to rest, and the level of damage they sustained in
the collision. I refer you once again to the web page I cited.
Brad Ferguson
2005-10-03 02:37:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Ragsdale
Just to amplyfy my post. As I remember the Highway 41/46 junction,
Turnipseed had the right of way on Highway 41 with Dean approaching
eastbound on Highway 46 controlled by an arterial stop sign. In order for
James Dean to be moving at any significant speed he had to have run the stop
sign and then into the right side of Turnipseed's car.
Later, the intersection was realigned to make the Highway 46 straight
through and at present Highway 41 has a left turn lane directly facing the
oncoming Hwy 46 traffic. In the TV special I saw no mention of the highway
redesign.
Bill, the simulation (with narration) is at the URL I posted. Go see
it. You'll be able to compare your memory of the highway with how they
re-created it for the simulation.
J.D. Baldwin
2005-10-03 16:06:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Brad Ferguson
You said much the same thing here when we discussed this in 1999.
You're disagreeing with Exponent's findings based on something that
didn't happen at the scene, viz., that Dean had gotten a speeding
ticket two hours (not one hour) before. No one is denying Dean got
a ticket.
Just what was that ticket for? ____ in a ____ zone? Sure, it's
circumstantial evidence, but it works pretty well to show how Dean was
inclined to be driving that night. On the other hand, getting a
ticket does have a way of gentling you down for a while.
Post by Brad Ferguson
Exponent -- which is really very good at this sort of thing -- found
that Dean was not speeding at the time of the crash, and provided
ample evidence to back its claim. This evidence consists of where
the cars came to rest, and the level of damage they sustained in the
collision. I refer you once again to the web page I cited.
As any experienced state trooper will tell you, there is a wide margin
of error around that kind of analysis. Recently, as post-accident
"black box" downloads have become common, investigators have begun to
realize just how bad all those analyses have been all those years
before. The directly-measured results are frequently way off what the
cops at the scene would conclude from simply looking at damage and
distance.

I'm sure the analysis you reference is the best available for this
sort of thing, but you have to keep in mind that "the best available"
isn't necessarily all that good.
--
_+_ From the catapult of |If anyone disagrees with any statement I make, I
_|70|___:)=}- J.D. Baldwin |am quite prepared not only to retract it, but also
\ / ***@panix.com|to deny under oath that I ever made it. -T. Lehrer
***~~~~-----------------------------------------------------------------------
theresa
2005-10-03 16:14:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by J.D. Baldwin
Post by Brad Ferguson
You said much the same thing here when we discussed this in 1999.
You're disagreeing with Exponent's findings based on something that
didn't happen at the scene, viz., that Dean had gotten a speeding
ticket two hours (not one hour) before. No one is denying Dean got
a ticket.
Just what was that ticket for? ____ in a ____ zone? Sure, it's
circumstantial evidence, but it works pretty well to show how Dean was
inclined to be driving that night. On the other hand, getting a
ticket does have a way of gentling you down for a while.
65 mph in a 45 mph zone...
Post by J.D. Baldwin
Post by Brad Ferguson
Exponent -- which is really very good at this sort of thing -- found
that Dean was not speeding at the time of the crash, and provided
ample evidence to back its claim. This evidence consists of where
the cars came to rest, and the level of damage they sustained in the
collision. I refer you once again to the web page I cited.
As any experienced state trooper will tell you, there is a wide margin
of error around that kind of analysis. Recently, as post-accident
"black box" downloads have become common, investigators have begun to
realize just how bad all those analyses have been all those years
before. The directly-measured results are frequently way off what the
cops at the scene would conclude from simply looking at damage and
distance.
I'm sure the analysis you reference is the best available for this
sort of thing, but you have to keep in mind that "the best available"
isn't necessarily all that good.
--
J.D. Baldwin
2005-10-03 17:08:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by theresa
Post by J.D. Baldwin
Just what was that ticket for? ____ in a ____ zone? Sure, it's
circumstantial evidence, but it works pretty well to show how Dean
was inclined to be driving that night. On the other hand, getting a
ticket does have a way of gentling you down for a while.
65 mph in a 45 mph zone...
Oh, hell, that's not so bad. I do that all the time in light traffic
on unpopulated roads.
--
_+_ From the catapult of |If anyone disagrees with any statement I make, I
_|70|___:)=}- J.D. Baldwin |am quite prepared not only to retract it, but also
\ / ***@panix.com|to deny under oath that I ever made it. -T. Lehrer
***~~~~-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Brad Ferguson
2005-10-03 18:53:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by J.D. Baldwin
Post by Brad Ferguson
You said much the same thing here when we discussed this in 1999.
You're disagreeing with Exponent's findings based on something that
didn't happen at the scene, viz., that Dean had gotten a speeding
ticket two hours (not one hour) before. No one is denying Dean got
a ticket.
Just what was that ticket for? ____ in a ____ zone? Sure, it's
circumstantial evidence, but it works pretty well to show how Dean was
inclined to be driving that night. On the other hand, getting a
ticket does have a way of gentling you down for a while.
Post by Brad Ferguson
Exponent -- which is really very good at this sort of thing -- found
that Dean was not speeding at the time of the crash, and provided
ample evidence to back its claim. This evidence consists of where
the cars came to rest, and the level of damage they sustained in the
collision. I refer you once again to the web page I cited.
As any experienced state trooper will tell you, there is a wide margin
of error around that kind of analysis. Recently, as post-accident
"black box" downloads have become common, investigators have begun to
realize just how bad all those analyses have been all those years
before. The directly-measured results are frequently way off what the
cops at the scene would conclude from simply looking at damage and
distance.
I'm sure the analysis you reference is the best available for this
sort of thing, but you have to keep in mind that "the best available"
isn't necessarily all that good.
You make some good points here. We can't know for sure. I'm taking
for granted that Exponent's record in court cases gives it some
credibility here, but you're right -- these are not facts.

I do think a look at the level of damage sustained by the cars does
lead away from the old story that Dean was doing 100 or more at the
time of the crash. I'm also willing to believe that Dean blew through
the stop sign, not expecting Turnupseed to turn into the oncoming lane.
d***@jeffco.edu
2018-08-23 01:17:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Ragsdale
Regarding the James Dean crash: My father with the attending physician for
James Dean's mechanic, Rolf Wuertherich. I remember the night when Dad
reported the news at home. A friend of mine bought the (good) driver's side
door off of Turnipseed's car as it matched his damaged door.
I find it hard to agree with the statement Turnipseed was at fault.
James Dean received a speeding ticket on Highway 99 about a hour before this
wreck. A copy is posted here in Woodland at Chubby's Diner with other Dean
memorabilia. Oddly, I happen to have a copy of Dean's death certificate as I
know some of the men who signed it (not my Dad, though).
As the best I remember at the Highway 41/46 split Turnipseed had the right
of way and Dean had an arterial stop sign. Dean was driving directly into
the sun. He did not stop and plowed into the passenger side of Turnipseed's
car. I drove that intersection many times as I made the trip
from Paso Robles to Fresno to see a girl friend.
I saw the TV special and it appeared to use the present highway alignment
which has been redone several times in the last 50 years. The present
alignment has no stop sign, a straight thru lane to Bakersfield and uses a
left turn lane to Fresno rather than the
original "Y" layout with a stop sign.
Bill Ragsdale
=========
Post by MGW
Although he was involved in the fatal crash, I think it's taking
things a bit far to say he "killed" Jamess Dean. Wasn't there some
speeding on Dean's part?
Dean had the right away, he was already on the hwy way that Turnupseed was trying to enter. And according to the police report Dean was only doing 55 at the time.
Shirley
2005-10-01 20:50:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@comcast.net
TURNUPSEED, DONALD G., Age: 63
Turnupseed, 2nd driver in James Dean crash, dies at 63
Tularean built family electric business as he resisted publicity for 40
years
Donald Turnupseed, the Tulare man who quietly built a family business
and endeavored to maintain his privacy after being involved in the car
accident that killed actor James Dean four decades ago, has died at age
63. Requests for interviews about the Sept. 30, 1955, crash came from
around the world and served as a constant annoyance to Turnupseed.
"That's something that bothered him his whole life. That's not Donald
Turnupseed," said Wally Nelson, president of Turnupseed Electric in
Tulare.
As this year's 40th anniversary of the crash approached, requests for
interviews continued. A German journalist was the last the call, Nelson
said.
"He's been bothered by people constantly trying to write a story."
Nelson said. "There's always somebody calling up or coming to the door.
We had to push them out the door."
Although he has refused interviews for decades, Turnupseed did speak
with the Tulare Advance Register hours after the crash. It occurred
when he pulled his 1950 Ford from Highway 46 onto Highway 41 near
Cholame. Turnupseed's car was struck by a speeding silver grey Porsche
Spyder driven by Dean, who at 24 was the star of three major films. "I
didn't see him coming," Turnupseed said.
Turnupseed was coming home to Tulare from Cal Poly State University,
San Luis Obispo, where he was a student. Dean was in route to a race in
Salinas. His mechanic was a passenger.
Dean, star of "East of Eden" and "Rebel Without a Cause" in 1955 and
"Giant in 1956, died in an ambulance headed for a Paso Robles hospital.
His mechanic, Rolf Wuetherich, was seriously injured but recovered.
Wuetherich died in 1981 in a car crash in West Germany.
On advise from la California Highway Patrol officer, Turnupseed
hitch-hiked to Tulare after the crash. He was treated for a scraped
nose and bruises at Tulare District Hospital.
Extensive investigation of the accident never established guilt, said
C.R. "Budgie" Sturgeon, a partner in Spuhler and Sturgeon Insurance,
which had a policy on Turnupseed's Ford. "It was never established
whose fault it was. It just died."
Turnupseed's family declined to be interviewed for this story. With the
aid of his late parents, Harley and Ruth Turnupseed, the Porterville
native built an electrical contracting business with commercial clients
across the San Joaquin Valley and the central coast. Customers include
Kraft Foods, Haagen Dazs, US Cold Storage and California Milk
Producers, among others. The 48-year old company which employs and
average of 75 workers, has branch offices in Bakersfield and Fresno and
annual sales of about $15 million. "They were tough competitors," said
Al Paggi, owner of Paggi Electric. "As a business person, (Donald
Turnupseed) learned from his dad. His dad was a very, very tough-minded
person. But they never shorted anybody on their work."
Unlike his father, Donald Turnupseed was likeable, but not outgoing,
Paggi said. "You could never get close to Don." The business owner was
quiet even before the crash, Paggi said. The accident probably caused
Turnupseed to be more private still, Paggi said. "More than likely," he
said.
Turnupseed developed a fondness for cars while a student at Tulare
Union High School in the 1940s when he got a Model A, said Al Paggi,
owner of Paggi Electric.
"He turned it into a little race car." Paggi said. Years later, he
built dune buggies, nelson said. "The last 10 years he didn't do that
much," Nelson said. "The last 10 years he didn't do that much," Nelson
said, "He devoted a lot of time to business. Business was his hobby."
Turnupseed was an innovator, including selling clients on preventative
maintenance programs, Nelson said. "They had a chance to fix it before
down time."
Turnupseed was president of the San Joaquin Valley chapter of National
Electrical Contractors Association 1990-94. He handed control of his
company to Nelson last year as his lung cancer progressed. But he kept
close ties to the business, Nelson said.
He is survived by his wife, Mollie Turnupseed, Tulare; two sons, David
and Donald Bruce Turnupseed, both of Tulare; one stepson, Rick Bradley,
Coalinga; one daughter, Peggy Henson, Fresno; and five grandchildren.
Visitation will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Miller's Tulare Funeral
Home. Graveside services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Tulare Cemetery.
Remembrances may be sent to Hospice of Tulare County, 605 W. Willow
Ave, Visalia, CA 93201.
-from the Tulare Advanced Register, July 13/14, 1995
Deb...
The national Geographic Channel is doing a special on the James Dean
accident coming up at 5:00PM EST..
Just thought you might be interested....
Shirley
d***@comcast.net
2005-10-01 21:10:24 UTC
Permalink
Deb...
The national Geographic Channel is doing a special on the James Dean
accident coming up at 5:00PM EST..
Just thought you might be interested....
Shirley

Thanks, Shirley, but I don't think I get that channel!
d***@comcast.net
2005-10-01 22:08:22 UTC
Permalink
Thanks, Shirley, but I don't think I get that channel!

Just discovered I DO get the National Geographic channel! Taped the
show! Thanks, Shirley!
l***@gmail.com
2014-06-17 04:00:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@comcast.net
TURNUPSEED, DONALD G., Age: 63
Turnupseed, 2nd driver in James Dean crash, dies at 63
Tularean built family electric business as he resisted publicity for 40
years
Donald Turnupseed, the Tulare man who quietly built a family business
and endeavored to maintain his privacy after being involved in the car
accident that killed actor James Dean four decades ago, has died at age
63. Requests for interviews about the Sept. 30, 1955, crash came from
around the world and served as a constant annoyance to Turnupseed.
"That's something that bothered him his whole life. That's not Donald
Turnupseed," said Wally Nelson, president of Turnupseed Electric in
Tulare.
As this year's 40th anniversary of the crash approached, requests for
interviews continued. A German journalist was the last the call, Nelson
said.
"He's been bothered by people constantly trying to write a story."
Nelson said. "There's always somebody calling up or coming to the door.
We had to push them out the door."
Although he has refused interviews for decades, Turnupseed did speak
with the Tulare Advance Register hours after the crash. It occurred
when he pulled his 1950 Ford from Highway 46 onto Highway 41 near
Cholame. Turnupseed's car was struck by a speeding silver grey Porsche
Spyder driven by Dean, who at 24 was the star of three major films. "I
didn't see him coming," Turnupseed said.
Turnupseed was coming home to Tulare from Cal Poly State University,
San Luis Obispo, where he was a student. Dean was in route to a race in
Salinas. His mechanic was a passenger.
Dean, star of "East of Eden" and "Rebel Without a Cause" in 1955 and
"Giant in 1956, died in an ambulance headed for a Paso Robles hospital.
His mechanic, Rolf Wuetherich, was seriously injured but recovered.
Wuetherich died in 1981 in a car crash in West Germany.
On advise from la California Highway Patrol officer, Turnupseed
hitch-hiked to Tulare after the crash. He was treated for a scraped
nose and bruises at Tulare District Hospital.
Extensive investigation of the accident never established guilt, said
C.R. "Budgie" Sturgeon, a partner in Spuhler and Sturgeon Insurance,
which had a policy on Turnupseed's Ford. "It was never established
whose fault it was. It just died."
Turnupseed's family declined to be interviewed for this story. With the
aid of his late parents, Harley and Ruth Turnupseed, the Porterville
native built an electrical contracting business with commercial clients
across the San Joaquin Valley and the central coast. Customers include
Kraft Foods, Haagen Dazs, US Cold Storage and California Milk
Producers, among others. The 48-year old company which employs and
average of 75 workers, has branch offices in Bakersfield and Fresno and
annual sales of about $15 million. "They were tough competitors," said
Al Paggi, owner of Paggi Electric. "As a business person, (Donald
Turnupseed) learned from his dad. His dad was a very, very tough-minded
person. But they never shorted anybody on their work."
Unlike his father, Donald Turnupseed was likeable, but not outgoing,
Paggi said. "You could never get close to Don." The business owner was
quiet even before the crash, Paggi said. The accident probably caused
Turnupseed to be more private still, Paggi said. "More than likely," he
said.
Turnupseed developed a fondness for cars while a student at Tulare
Union High School in the 1940s when he got a Model A, said Al Paggi,
owner of Paggi Electric.
"He turned it into a little race car." Paggi said. Years later, he
built dune buggies, nelson said. "The last 10 years he didn't do that
much," Nelson said. "The last 10 years he didn't do that much," Nelson
said, "He devoted a lot of time to business. Business was his hobby."
Turnupseed was an innovator, including selling clients on preventative
maintenance programs, Nelson said. "They had a chance to fix it before
down time."
Turnupseed was president of the San Joaquin Valley chapter of National
Electrical Contractors Association 1990-94. He handed control of his
company to Nelson last year as his lung cancer progressed. But he kept
close ties to the business, Nelson said.
He is survived by his wife, Mollie Turnupseed, Tulare; two sons, David
and Donald Bruce Turnupseed, both of Tulare; one stepson, Rick Bradley,
Coalinga; one daughter, Peggy Henson, Fresno; and five grandchildren.
Visitation will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Miller's Tulare Funeral
Home. Graveside services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Tulare Cemetery.
Remembrances may be sent to Hospice of Tulare County, 605 W. Willow
Ave, Visalia, CA 93201.
-from the Tulare Advanced Register, July 13/14, 1995
l***@gmail.com
2018-09-14 04:15:08 UTC
Permalink
I knew his daughter Peggy in the 1960s. It seems like iremember something about him getting arrested for flying in drugs in a small plane? Maybe I'm tripping on that.
s***@gmail.com
2016-02-15 18:04:59 UTC
Permalink
Was Kurt cobain of nirvAnas grandmother ms dean related to James dean? It appears Bruce brown who I was told was Kurt cobains blood father and Bruce told me kurt was my paternal brother, may have traveled this same highway 46.

It is a bloody bastardized highway some days and it is dotted with large prisons. Even in morro bay the highways turns to highway one and the men's penal colony is there. It puts sweet government cream in its sheeit

Those stunning weapons and memory erasing drugs and government war criminal abide have left this American running scared and seriously considering Siberia at North Pole Alaska

YouTube Kurt brown saintrambone uploads

Mobile audit club

There is a Kurt road off the highway 46. I was told it was to give me Kurt brown a place to park and sleep. We are tortured and maimed by federal officials in la

Was Bruce brown and the person who killed him in 1987 the same person racing James dean and who killed him on highway 46

I once saw a bloodspot on highway 46. Legend has it a dean too.
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