Stardust 50 Years Ago (1961)
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
I'd love to know the story behind this one.

Miles City Star
September 19, 2011

Page 4
Stardust 50 Years Ago (1961)

Death could have been the
winner of a Sunday night
race between two carloads of
teenagers who could not wait
for the opening of the new
concrete interstate highway
strip west of the city. Four
Miles City teenagers suf-
fered painful injuries when
their car plunged over the
dead end of the new con-
struction.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
oops
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Posted by Kacey (+3159) 10 years ago
Sounds like 4 VERY lucky kids. I don't remember who they were, although I do vaguely remember the incident. But then I was only 6 at the time.
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Posted by Wil Nelson (+81) 10 years ago
I also remember the incident but not the names.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
Threads like this make me miss Mr. Petro. He would know the whole story.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
I've been out of town for a few days. I will post the rest of the story when I get a chance.

ETA:

Death could have been the winner of a Sunday night race between two carloads of teenagers who could not wait for the opening of the new concrete Interstate highway strip west of the city in order to play "roadway roulette."

Four Miles City teenagers suffered painful injuries when their car plunged over the dead end of the new construction about two-tenths of a mile east of the new Tongue River bridge. The other car stopped in time to avoid making the 75-foot drop to the water below.

So badly were some of the youngsters injured that doctors worked until nearly 4 a.m. in the operating room of a local hospital.

Injured in the accident were Ronald Joritz, driver of one of the racing cars; Sheraldine Mundon, Susan Wright and Julie Lee.

In the other car uninjured were Gary Hulford, the driver; James Anderson, Dick Joritz and Gary Mundon. The three girls are students at Custer County Junior College and Ron and Dick Joritz and James Anderson are high school seniors at Custer High.

Bob Bissell, Montana highway patrolman who investigated the accident, made the following report:

The auto driven by the two youths were admittedly drag-racing down the newly-completed, but not as yet opened cement highway. The Hulford machine slowed when the driver saw the dead end sign but the Joritz car raced on and over the end of the construction and into the water some 75-feet below.

Bissell stated that "it was lucky that they landed in the soft river bed rather than on the usual piling that goes under a bridge.

The impact with which the 1960 model vehicle hit the river bed was terrific with many of the injuries suffered from facial lacerations. Mute evidence of the crash Monday morning was a tooth embedded in the dash board of the machine. (editor's note. OW!)

Bissell also stated any citations issued would await further questioning of Ronald Jortiz.

The teenagers could charged with several highway infractions including unlawful entry and disregard for highway law. It is a misdemeanor to fail to obey or disregard highway signs and signals.

Montana Highway Patrol Sergeant Ernest DeDycker stated today that his department will crack down severely on any new road violators from now on. "Up to now, we have been giving warnings," DeDycker said, "But since it appears that no attention is being paid these warnings, we will arrest any and all drivers using it illegally."

Official opening of the new highway strip is set for September 20.(editor's note: They had a fancy opening ceremony but the road didn't actually open for another two weeks because there was no guard rail installed yet.)

Susan Wright, 17, is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Wright, 1213 Woodbury, and according to a report by her father at noon today, has lost some of her upper teeth, received a broken nose, broken leg, broken foot, and a deep gash on the other foot.

Sheraldine Mundon, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mundon, 204 S. Sixth, received severe cuts on her face and broken eyeglasses. At first it was feared she might be blinded, but this morning it was reported that her eyesight was not impaired. She also received a cut leg with the flesh torn off to the bone near her ankle.

Ronnie Joritz, 18, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Joritz, 18, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Joritz of the Frontier Gasateria east of Miles City, and the driver of the car, was reported to have a number of broken ribs, a punctured lung, and chest injuries.

Julie Lee, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Don Lee, 321 S. Lake, was reported to be suffering from bruises, but was the least seriously injured of the four.

X-rays were being taken at the hospital today to determine further injuries and all four will be hospitalized for some time yet.

(editor's note: Notice how important it was that the new highway was concrete, not asphalt. It was a bid deal for some reason.) (Notice also how the car full of girls went over the edge. Testosterone trying to impress estrogen, I suspect.) (And ow! again.)

[This message has been edited by Amorette Allison (10/15/2011)]
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
Bumped up for the morbidly curious.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
It also interesting how the residence address for each person is given. That seems like an artifact of living in a small town.
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
Thanks for posting that, Amorette. Ouch.

I love the highway patrolman's report and referring to the car as "the Hulford machine".

I wonder what make and models of cars they were.
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
"About 60% of the interstate system is concrete, especially in urban areas where FHWA anticipates heavy traffic loads. Concrete was selected, in part, because of its durability.

Concrete can support heavy loads, such as truck traffic, with less deformation than asphalt. Although the initial cost of concrete used to be higher than for asphalt, today concrete has become the least expensive alternative for new construction on a first-cost basis in addition to maintenance costs being generally lower.In addition, concrete generally has a useful life of twice that of asphalt. Concrete commonly serves 20-30 years without needing major repair, while asphalt typically lasts only 8-12 years before resurfacing or significant repair is required."


Portland Cement Association, Concrete Pavements: Highways
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17328) 10 years ago
So where exactly was the "Frontier Gasateria" located at?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
So where exactly was the "Frontier Gasateria" located at?


Great question. If I had to guess I would say out by Mac's Frontierland but that is a total guess.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
I don't have my city directories at home but I'll have to check on the Frontier Gasateria. Love the name!

Unless I am mistaken, Gary Mundon went on to infamy as one of Miles City's early drug dealers.
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Posted by Dona Stebbins (+819) 10 years ago
Gary was also a musician - he was shot and killed when he tried to hold up a drugstore in Missoula, I think. Not really clear on the details - it was a long time ago...
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Posted by Gene Keller (+45) 10 years ago
Amorette, What ever Gary Mundon did or didn't do has nothing to do with the Stardust article from 1961 about the wreck they were all in. I doubt you were even around back in the day and didn't even know any of them personally. Being a close friend of each of the people involved I am disturbed that you would single out any one person to throw rocks at. I am neither a drug pusher or a drug user but I will say that Gary Mundon was a very close and personal friend of mine as the other people were and still are. I do think you owe his family an apology.
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Posted by Steve Allison (+981) 10 years ago
What Amorette posted, except for the editors notes, were a direct quote from the public record newspaper article. None of her comments had anything to say about the individuals involved, just an ouch at the description of a tooth left in dashboard and that then they thought concrete roadway was new and neat.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
No, Steve, Gene is right. I did comment on Gary Mundon based on my memories in high school.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9195) 10 years ago
Well... was he shot while committing a robbery or not?
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
I probably shouldn't have brought up his later life, as it was irrelevant to the accident. For that, I apologize.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 10 years ago
What you really should apologize for is printing that bit about pregnancy being a vacation. Geez, were we that dumb in 1961?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
What you really should apologize for is printing that bit about pregnancy being a vacation. Geez, were we that dumb in 1961?


Nope, Wendy in 1961 we were fetus's or newborn's.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (10/17/2011)]
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
Back to the "Frontier Gasateria". Where and what was it? The article makes it sound as if this Joritz fellow lived there.
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
From a comment on this photo (FLICKR PHOTO: FlamingoLoungeendofpubcrawl) from Missoula:

What ever happened to Gary Mundon:
Gary and Jim Wolfe dressed in black one night, a couple shots of tequila later they pulled off a robbery. Something they both fantasized doing after watching a movie. They broke into a gas station in Stevensville, stealing a few tools. Gary and Jim went home to gather their girlfriends and Garys dog Bonzo hoping they would participate in the activity. They of course declined, even Bonzo stayed home.
Gary and Jim broke into the Ravaili County drug store, entering through a sky light, a silent alarm went off notifying the sheriff, Tracy Tucker who called the drug store owner and pharmacist, Allen Kelly.
They met outside the drug store, late at night. Both of them were armed. Mr. Kelly was up early anyway, it was around three AM. he was going hunting. He made his own bullets.
Gary and Jim were sitting on the floor, behind the drug counter going through a PDR. Mr. Tucker surprised them pointing his weapon and placing them under arrest. They submitted, lying prone on the floor. Jim was being handcuffed. Gary being the wild and crazy guy that he was apparently decided he could wrestle the sheriff. Thats when Allen Kelly shot him in the head. Neither Gary or Jim ever knew Kelly was there.
The plot thickens.
Jim Wolfs is given one phone call. He calls Emily Loring, his girlfriend Judys mother. She was an attorney practicing in Great Falls. He tells her about the entire evening, including the first robbery. She tells him to shut his mouth and not repeat what he just told her. She was on her way. She helped him get rid of the evidence from the first crime. She advised him to get out of town and not be available for the subpoena.
And don't you suppose that worked out so very well for Ravalli County. Mr. Kelly not being a deputy and all.
Why Jim boy ran for the hills, and the inquest was a walk in the park. No one was there to speak for Gary. Just Kelly and Tucker who claimed Kelly rushed forward, shouted for Mundon to freeze or he was a dead man. Mundon continued to struggle so Kelly discharged his firearm. A member of the inquest did ask in Garys behalf why kelly had aimed for the head. Kelly said he was not trained in firearms. Right. The truth be known, Kelly shot Gary without saying BOO. Neither Gary or Jim ever knew he was there until after the gun went off and, well by that time it was too late for Gary. I attended the inquest, it was a debacle.
Jim Wolf never even got his hands slapped for either of the burglaries. Alan Kelly shot a man in the head and walked away a hero. Tracy Tucker mysteriously left town. Emily Loring succeeded in keeping her daughter Judys name out of the paper and Judy is now an attorney in the state of Montana, possibly Stevensville. Last but not least Durinda, Garys girlfriend, never has gotten over it. She was treated like trash when she went to retrieve Garys belongings. Actually, Durinda was stopped by Tucker before he left town, she was driving Garys van in Stevensville. Tucker stopped her to apologize, he was terribly sorry and did not know why Alan Kelly had to do what he did.
Garys children, Sari and Rachael were too young to remember their dad. Bonzo was run over years later crossing a road in Big Fork.
So that is what happened to Gary Mundon.
Gary died at a very young age. He was not a drug addict.
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Posted by Bill Zook (+497) 10 years ago
This leads me to another grim reminder of what we used to call our "spring rite of sacrificing at least one youth" to the season. Note how many of the high school athletic awards are the result of youth dieing in car accidents, which began with my classmate Jerry Ashley.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 10 years ago
Nope, Wendy in 1961 we were fetus's fetuses or fetii or newborn's newborns.


You're not even making it difficult, Richard.
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
I asked the question about the "Frontier Gasateria" then promptly threw everyone off with the tragic story of Gary Mundon.

Sooo.....

"Frontier Gasateria", anyone? What? Where? Perhaps it deserves its own thread. There has to be someone around who remembers it. I bet Frank Stoltz would know.

I asked my mom and she said it was at the airport. Me: "The airport?! Frontier Airlines??" Her: "I think they had a lunch counter for the airline passengers." Me: "GASateria, Mom, not cafeteria."
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Posted by Gene Keller (+45) 10 years ago
David, Frontier Gasateria was where Mac's Frontierland is now. There was a string of cabins there also to rent. The Joritz family moved their from Chicago and operated it. I ran around with one of their sons Dick Joritz while in school and he married Leah Lafond from Glendive.
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
Thanks, Gene.

Good guess, Mr. Bonine.
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Posted by Wayne White (+255) 10 years ago
I believe the gaseteria was between the Dairy Queen and The A&W, the parking lot turn in to Tempo and Butterys. I left before Frontierland.
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
Wayne, I agree that there used to be a gas station at that location, but I'm going with Gene and Richard that the "Frontier Gasateria" was located further out. Mac's Frontierland (the Ford dealership) is located at the intersection of N. Haynes Ave. and Valley Drive East (which is what they call old U.S. Highway 10-12 these days).
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Posted by Wayne White (+255) 10 years ago
I thought it was called something gaseteria but not sure. I know Larry Higgins and Russel Easton worked there. Having been gone 40 plus years, things have changed.
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Posted by Gene Larson (+271) 10 years ago
Well, here's another Gene to agree with the first one that the Gaseteria WAS where Mac's Frontierland is now. Not only did (the other) Gene prove the fact, but I was given the use of a post card with a picture of the Gaseteria to make an illustration for my 1996 calendar. The card stated that it was "UNITED GASETERIA and CABINS." And "UNITED GASETERIA" is what the sign on the station read. Hope this helps.
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
Thanks, Gene. I'm going to have to go dig my 1996 calendar out of the archives.

Wayne, that gas station at the Plaza was the first thing I thought of too but the fact that the news article implied the Joritz's resided at the Gasateria made that seem implausible.

After I told my mom "GASateria not cafeteria" she named the Plaza gas station too. Her dad worked there a couple hours a day for a while in his retired years.
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Posted by Barbara J Ashley (+51) 10 years ago
I have a phone book from 1955 I lists the United Gaseteria E of town number 2081 and Gaseteria,The Service sta E of town number 2010


the calendar from 1996 by Gene Larson with the picture has a caption United Gaseteria and Cabin--Filing station(inset) was located on the SE corner of the lots containing the house and cabins. Circa 1950's, site of Mac's Fronterland----Drawn form as postcard courtesy of Wayde Caslson
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
Seems like in my time the gas station at the Miles City Plaza was a Husky station and then became a Cenex before its demise. It was possibly known as simply the "Plaza Cenex Station".
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17328) 10 years ago
Cool detective work, Dave. Who would've thunk that Burch Ray's bass player would have turned to a life of crime?

I bet it all began with being an idiot in 1961.
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Posted by Cheryl Gaer-Barlow (+474) 10 years ago
Thanks, Gene, for standing up for Gary. He was a good friend of mine as well. I remember this incident. Sammy or Gary called and asked me to go "riding around" that night. (Don't remember which) For some strange reason, my parents asked me not to go out that night because they were out of town.
That was an odd request but I obeyed them and stayed home. I would have been right with them!
We were all pretty wild and crazy! Wow, Did we ever have fun! But to blasphemy the memory of old,dear friends doesn't sit right with me either.
All I wanted to say was, Thanks Gene!
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
I knew that story was going to be good but I had no idea it would be this, umm, good. I hate to say "good" because I'm still in despair over what happened to Gary later in life.

Gunnar, keep in mind that Gary's machine actually stopped before plunging over the cliff into the mighty Tongue River.

Gene Keller, any idea what kind of "machines" Dick and Gary had back in the day?
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Posted by David Schott (+17055) 10 years ago
Oops, sorry, I guess it was Gary Hulford that was driving the car that Gary Mundon was in. Gary Hulford had the wisdom to shut down his machine before the perilous plunge.
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