The Rollover

Sunny Summer Day, Utah Lake from Mt. Timpanogas
One beautiful summer day at Saratoga Springs...

~by Don Broadhead, BYH Class of 1947

During the summer of my junior or senior year at B.Y. High School, I and six of my close friends, four boys and three girls, decided on a Sunday afternoon to go to the Saratoga Springs swimming pool. It was located on the far side of Utah Lake, southwest of Lehi.

Our group included me, George Collard, Jim Rawlings, Jim Rhodes, Colleen Mower, Elaine Carlson, and Joan Tuttle.

After we scrounged up enough gasoline rationing stamps, George Collard borrowed and drove his parents' new Studebaker, then only a few weeks old. This automobile comfortably seated five people, so you can see we were over capacity with seven passengers.

Saratoga Springs, Utah, swimming pool area

We had an enjoyable afternoon swimming, eating, visiting, and generally having a good time.

We left for home about dusk, driving north at approximately 55 miles an hour to meet the east road, which went directly into the town of Lehi.

We were not all that familiar with the road. Around us there were just farm fields, with wire fences surrounding them. We didn't know it, but we were approaching a T intersection, where the road went directly west or east, with a dead end directly in front of us.

"There is a stop sign!" someone shouted suddenly. George pulled his foot off the accelerator, applied the brakes, and tried his best to make a direct right-hand turn.

The tires hit loose gravel on the left side of the road, and the skidding car began to tip over. I was sitting in the back seat on the left side, near the window. I remember seeing the ground coming up to meet the window.

The next thing I recall is standing in the field approximately 75 feet away from the car. Apparently I had been thrown clear as the Studebaker rolled three complete times.

With amazement I looked at the car, saw that it was right side up, motor still running, all doors open, with five of the seven occupants standing around outside the vehicle.

I ran to the scene, where I found everyone present walking around and in good shape. However, we could not find Jim Rawlings, and we were struck with terror.

We searched all around, and particularly under the car. Soon, however, we saw Jim running toward us from a considerable distance away, coming from the west. He had immediately gone to a farmhouse to get help. Fortunately, little help was needed, other than using their telephone to call a tow truck, and then calling Colleen Mower's father to come and take us home.

We discovered that Joan Tuttle had a small cut on one knee, requiring a few stitches. Other than this, there were no other injuries.

What were the damages to the Collard family's new Studebaker? It was totaled. Oh how I wish we had taken a photograph -- it was astonishing that we survived at all.

Before leaving the scene of the accident, Jim Rhodes, being thrifty and conscientious, suggested that we try to drain the gasoline from the tank, because it was so difficult to come by in the first place, but we were not prepared to do it.

Our good friend Jim Baird had been invited to go with us that day, but he had declined because it was a Sunday. He felt that keeping the Sabbath Day holy was more important.

For reasons known only to God, our lives were spared that beautiful summer day. We were blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord -- angels had to be watching over us -- otherwise some or all of us would have been killed. I didn't know this at the time, but I strongly believe it now.

Everyone who was in our group that day lived long and happy lives, and though one by one we leave this beautiful world, we have all been fortunate enough to know exactly what we would have missed had our earthly lives ended that day.

Written October 2005

The Studebaker rolled over three times in a field.


J. Don Broadhead, the author of this story, died on March 1, 2013 in Provo, Utah at the age of 83.

James E. Baird was killed in an automobile accident February 7, 1998 at the age of 68 in Brigham City, Utah enroute to speak at his brother Orrin's funeral.

Colleen Mower Knudsen passed following a brief illness, on January 16, 1999 in Provo, Utah, at the age of 68.

George E. Collard, Jr. passed away peacefully in his home in Salt Lake City on September 11, 2014 at the age of 85.

James W. Rawlings passed away peacefully in Sonoma, California on November 1, 2013 at the age of 84.

Elaine Carlson Fillmore, age 82, passed away peacefully on October 8, 2011 in Provo, Utah at the age of 82.

Joan Tuttle Lewis passed away peacefully on July 19, 2016 in Provo, Utah.

James A. "Jim" Rhodes is still living in Kensington, California in 2021.

These B.Y. High School friends all accomplished great and wonderful things in the many decades of mortality that they lived beyond the day of the accident described in this story.

You can read more about all of the people mentioned in this story in their profiles on this website.

Don Broadhead, Brigham Young High School, 1947
J. Don Broadhead in 1947

Brigham Young High School Biographies
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