R. A. Long High School Class of 1963

R. A. Long Senior Joel Embree Dies in Car Crash

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On the night of November 8, 1962, we lost our first classmate. Joel Embree was involved in a fatal accident on Pacific Way in Longview. Here's the story as it appeared in the Longview Daily News, on Friday November 9, 1962:

Auto Crash Claims Boy

Honor Student Drowned, Girl Swims to Safety

By Bud May

An allergy to chlorine may have contributed to the Thursday night death of an R. A. Long High School honor student who drowned after his car went out of control on Pacific Way, west of Longview and plunged into Coal Creek Slough. A girl passenger swam to safety.

Cowlitz County Coroner Glenn A. York said the victim was Joel D. Embree, 17, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Embree, 2236 36th Ave., Longview.

School officials said Joel had not participated in school swim programs because he had an allergy to chlorine, the chemical used to purify public swimming pools.

The passenger, Miss Connie Woods, 16, of 1535 7th Ave., Longview, was listed in good condition at St. Johns Hospital where she was treated for minor injuries.

Deputy Sheriff E. O. Bourdage said Miss Woods told him that she and Embree climbed out of the car after it landed in the water and Joel directed her to swim to shore.

She thought he was following her, but when she reached the bank and turned to look for him he had disappeared.

Two Longview police officers, Chuck Barrett and Steve Hartshorn, donned scuba diving equipment and recovered the body in about 12 feet of water near the submerged car about 20 feet from shore.

Bourdage said the car had been traveling east on Pacific Way when it went into a skid on a curve in the 5100 block. He said the vehicle went over a 20-foot embankment, landed on a large boulder, then bounded into the water.

Assisting in the investigation of the mishap were Deputy Sheriff Chuck Karr and State Patrolman Donald Morhous.

Mrs. Trudy Young, a counsellor [sic] at R. A. Long, said Joel was an outstanding student, maintaining a 3.7 grade point average. She said he was a letter of commendation winner from the National Merit Scholarship Corp., a member of the National Honor Society and the R. A. Long Science Club. He was an active member of the school’s public address system service group.

Embree planned to study physics at Whitman College to prepare for a teaching or research career.

He was employed part time at the Longview Daily News, where he worked in the mailing room for the circulation department.

The body was taken to McVicker’s Chapel on the Hill at Kelso, where funeral arrangements are pending.

Source: Longview Daily News, Longview WA, Friday November 9, 1962, page 1.