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1972 article about fatal crash which took life of Joe Biden’s wife, daughter August 24, 2008

Posted by John in Accidents, Biography, Children, Family, Political.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From The Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 19, 1972:

Senator-Elect’s Wife Dies in Auto Accident

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) – The pretty blonde wife of Joseph R. Biden was at his side through his campaign. They rejoiced in victory last month when he became the youngest man to be elected to the U.S. senate in this century.

Biden, an intensely family oriented man, had said earlier that he wanted his wife Neilia to get a doctorate and teach college when their children were older. In the meantime, he said, he wanted her “to mold my children.”

End in Tragedy

Biden’s plans for his family ended in tragedy Monday when a tractor-trailer truck slammed into the family station wagon near Hockessiri.

Mrs. Biden and the couple’s 18-month-old daughter Amy were killed and the Bidens’ two young sons were injured. Joseph, 4, sustained leg injuries; Robert, 3, suffered head injuries.

Also hospitalized was the truck driver, Curtis C. Dunn, 43, of Avondale, Pa.

Police said the station wagon “pulled from a stop sign” and was struck on the left side by the truck, “continuing approximately 150 feet, spinning around, going backwards down an embankment, and striking three trees.”

Biden, 30, Democrat, was in Washington at the time, working on staff appointments. He flew back to Wilmington and arrived at the hospital with his sister and campaign managers.

A half-hour later he departed with his son Robert in an ambulance.

“With You”

In an apparent effort to reassure the child, Biden said: “I’m going to jump right in there with you, son.”

The boy was transferred to Delaware Division hospital nearby.

Biden met his wife, a native of Skaneateles, N.Y., during his junior year at the University of Delaware. Two years later, in 1965, after he finished his first year at Syracuse law school, the two were married. Mrs. Biden had been on the dean’s list and was homecoming queen at Syracuse.

Her parents are Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hunter of Auburn, N.Y. Biden, a Wilmington lawyer and New Castle county councilman, had been soaring on the crest of victory after defeating veteran G.O.P. Sen. J. Caleb Boggs in the Nov. 7 general election.

At that time Biden was still 13 days shy of his 30th birthday, the minimum age required to be a U.S. senator.

Boggs, when notified of the accident, said, “It’s tragic and
terrible beyond words.”


According to a December 2007 New York Times story, this is how Sen. Biden described the accident:

“Let me tell you a little story,” Mr. Biden told the crowd at the University of Iowa. “I got elected when I was 29, and I got elected November the 7th. And on Dec. 18 of that year, my wife and three kids were Christmas shopping for a Christmas tree. A tractor-trailer, a guy who allegedly — and I never pursued it — drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch, broadsided my family and killed my wife instantly, and killed my daughter instantly, and hospitalized my two sons, with what were thought to be at the time permanent, fundamental injuries.”

A drunk driver or not? Check out this article by News Journal of Delaware. [Link came from Comments for this post]

Some Gazette coverage on Sen. Biden’s 2007 Iowa visits here.

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1. Scott - September 2, 2008

I know I’ve heard Biden say that a drunk driver killed his wife – how can the article leave this out? Was the press still covering for drunk drivers back then?

2. Sarah_V - September 4, 2008

The driver of the truck wasn’t drunk and the accident was not his fault.

Biden needs to set the record straight.

Tracy Smith - August 18, 2014

Proof that Biden has always been a liar! Isn’t that the way the government has always been? Especially the demoncrats?!

Barbara Elizabeth Brown Johnson - May 31, 2015

No, the truth is that the man was not tested and driving drunk was not handled the same way back then. He was believed to have been drinking, but Biden was too distraught to think about it all at the time and, although, he could have gone after the guy, by the time he was ready to think about that, there was no proof… Testing wasn’t the same back then either, and requirements for testing were not either. There was no law at that time holding a drunk person responsible for a death while driving drunk, no open-container laws, etc. The only penalties for underage drinking, at least the only ones anyone suffered, was having the booze confiscated by the police if caught.

Biden neither lied nor did he have any reason to lie. I would love to see you lose the people closest to you at the hands of someone who had a liquid lunch, which was common for truck drivers and many others back then, and see if you would hold your tongue.

How mean spirited…. even though it is an old comment, I just had to comment.

Cindy Harkin - June 1, 2015

A voice of intelligence, reason, and compassion, such a rare commodity, especially on the Internet. Thank you for your submission. While the realistic evaluation you offer will be dismissed by those who feel no obligation to utilize their cognitive abilities, it only seems just that it’s at least put out there in the ionosphere. Despite there being no integrity behind the words of individuals who short change the value of just intent, I sometimes find it disheartening when their words so misrepresent and ignore the value and qualities of the people they target. This is one of those instances.

My heart aches for the Biden family.

Barbara Miroslaw - August 25, 2015

No, there were laws regarding drunk driving at that time. I know this because my uncle and cousin were killed by a drunk driver in 1950. The man was convicted and served three years. It is pretty clear from the original article that she pulled out in front of the truck. I won’t condemn her for making that mistake, but to spin the accident as being caused by a drunk truck driver is wrong.

JimE - June 1, 2015

Let me state first I highly sympathize with the loss of Joe Bidens wife and daughter and the injuries of the sons. However it is pretty crass of him to come out with a statement like he made regarding “drank his lunch.”

As stated by Joe Biden: “A tractor-trailer, a guy who allegedly — and I never pursued it — drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch, broadsided my family and killed my wife instantly, and killed my daughter instantly, and hospitalized my two sons, with what were thought to be at the time permanent, fundamental injuries.”

Who alleged??? No where did I come across this information. He wasn’t tested because their was no suspicion of him having been drinking. Several people would had smelled the truck drivers breath in the course of time by the time he got to the hospital and would have called for testing for alcohol.

The truth is his wife pulled out in front of the truck and caused her death and the death of the daughter and the injury of the two sons. Whatever caused her to do this we will never know. However she is responsible no matter the reason for her pulling out!!!

CeeGee - June 1, 2015

So stupid and heartless..do you think she would intentionally put her children in harms way?…it was an accident regardless of the fault. Even if someone did detect alcohol on his breath there were not laws in place for charges to be brought against him. How can any of you be so insensitive…regardless of whether she pulled out or not…a family was destroyed. I hope you never have to feel the pain that family endured. You should crawl back under the rock from which you came!!

JimE - June 1, 2015

CeeGee I am sorry you feel the way you do. I am far from stupid and am a very sensitive person and I feel the pain that Joe Biden endured and can understand full well how he felt. And surely his wife didn’t intentionally put her children in harms way on purpose nor did I ever infer that she did. However her actions did cause the death of herself and her baby and the injuries of her two boys

How can you say there were no laws in place such that that charges couldn’t be brought against the truck driver if he had been drinking. That is just not true.

I am sorry that you are so emotional that your thinking has shut down and you have said the things you just said. You need to reread in full what I said and understand the whole of my post.

You might be a perfectly nice person and so there is hope for you to live your life to the fullest!!!

Have a great day…

3. Jim D - September 5, 2008

Biden is a LIAR! His wife pulled out from a stop sign into the path of an oncoming truck and was broadsided. see http://tinyurl.com/56adp3

kkk - May 31, 2015

seriously you insensitive ass. his wife and daughter were killed and two sons injured and the press said the guy had been drinking. when he realized the accident was not the truck driver’s fault he dropped it. and you politicize THAT? what is wrong with you?

4. inquiring mind - September 5, 2008

To paraphrase the question that’s now being asked of Sarah Palin with regard to her new baby, did he “put his children before his career” after the accident, or did he go back to Washington after visiting the injured kids?

annie - July 21, 2009

Vice President Biden went back to Washington. BUT he returned every single night and spent the night in the hospital with his son.

5. Rod P - September 7, 2008

Biden ruined this trucker’s life and his family by accusing him of being a drunk. He says he didn’t pursue it – that’s a lie! He and his media cohorts put this guy and his family through the wringer. This was just a regular guy who didn’t drink any more than anyone else. He worked hard to take care of his family, and sure, he liked to have a few beers on occassion. What the hell’s wrong with that? Isn’t this the kind of person Biden/Obama say they want to “fight for?” He absolutely was not under the influence of anything when the crash happened. It was Mrs. Biden’s fault! Biden owes this family an apology, but then again, how could they believe it?

6. Carrie - September 9, 2008

Sarah Palin invited criticism of her parenting the minute she called herself a “hockey mom” while running on a moral platform that includes abstinence for teens. Give me a break, she wants to tell me how to raise my family when she can’t keep control of her own? Yes, millions of Americans have had their teenagers have premarital sex and get pregnant. But those people aren’t then running around claiming moral superiority like Sarah Palin. And what being a pitbull with lipstick? Is this an election for the highest offices in our country or an audition for Dancing with the Stars? She is making a mockery of hardworking, devoted family- and business-women everywhere. She has put her children in a hideous national spotlight which highlights her own failings and hypocrisy and SHE is the best conservative women we could find?! Sandra Day O’Connor and Elizabeth Dole must be gagging themselves. I know I am.

7. Ryan - September 15, 2008

You guys shouldnt be so hard on Biden. He was probably in so much shock when it happened all he cared about was his dead wife and daughter, not some trucker that he didnt know.

8. Cathy - September 17, 2008

I just saw Inside Edition and the family of the trucker said that her father was not drunk. Senator Biden said this years after the accident. I think he needs to apologize to the family since the man is not longer alive. This family has feeling as well as the Biden family. And the facts should be told truthfully.

9. Another victim of wicked games and an American - September 18, 2008

In my opinion I believe Joe could be charged with defamation of Character on behalf of the surviving family members of the dump trunk drivers family whom Mr. Biden is emotionally and painfully harming now on hopes of gaining a few more votes. Why not trash a mans reputation and a families memories how pathetic are you Joe? Keep on digging your self a hole by plastering it all over the media for everyone to hear. You may need it to crawl into by the time this campaign is over. Don’t disgrace the memory of your wife and daughter anymore as well would they really want you to use them in a lie to gain undeserved votes. Surely you can come up with something better than disgracing them all for your wicked games.

This is no joke these are peoples lives.

Joe is not in Shock this many years later give me a break and the intellect of all the Americans that depend on him to tell the truth and protect them from injustice and terrorism. If you can’t even trust him with a campaign speech and the truth about his own life how can you trust him with the country and our lives.

Susan Fleming - February 13, 2015

I can only believe that anyone who would make these hateful statements about Joe Biden has never known love in his life. If you’ve been in a loving marriage with children you would know that the man must have been out of his mind with grief. And, it’s very possible he was told the truck driver was drunk. Shame on you for your hate-filled hearts.You are pitiful people. By the way, Biden took the train home to Delaware from DC EVERY night after the accident. So he could fulfill the duties of his office AND be with his children. What have YOU done with YOUR life?

jeanie mceachern - February 14, 2015

you are the apotheosis of compassion, sagacity, and equiponderence, susan. if only some of the other dyspeptic comments from these acidic, banausic, and otiose bloggers regarding joe biden were as intelligent and thoughtful as yours.

as you repined, there seems to be a dearth of loving-kindness and misericordia amongst bloggers who have nothing else to do w/ their lives but complain about, denigrate, or arrogate demonic motives to others, even those who have not only suffered egregiously, as joe biden has, but also those who have spent their lives trying to contribute to societal advancements, and who doggedly persevere in their search for relief from the societal ills plaguing us. since his college days, biden has spent his time and energy on behalf of those who have no voice, those who are disenfranchised, those who are depauperate, those who are dispossessed.

neila hunter biden was my classmate and friend at skaneateles central school in the late 1950’s~early ’60’s, and she was by far one of the kindest, most compassionate, warm-hearted, and endearing persons in our school. when she met and fell in love w/ joe in college, we were all delighted because neila had found someone who not only adored her, but who also deserved her. neila defined goodness and agape. when she and joe’s precious daughter were catastrophically ripped from joe’s life, leaving him a widower w/ 2 unspeakably damaged sons, joe was suicidal. however, he recognized suicide was not a luxury he could afford to indulge; to his credit, joe knew that if he allowed himself to sink into a dispiteous swamp of despair and self-pity, his 2 young sons could not possibly survive the trauma they had endured.
thank you, susan, for your eloquent and wise rejoinder; neila would smile w/ heartfelt gratitude.

10. Ca-ching - September 20, 2008

My father was killed by someone who reportedly had been drinking and speeding in similar circumstances. In this crisis, I never bothered to confirm this — we were busy dealing with the horrible consequences (my siblings had to be raised by my sister who was only 23 at the time, etc.). To this day I tell people that a Vietnam Vet who was probably drinking killed my dad. I’m sure a psychiatrist would say it eases the pain. Mr. Dunn, the truck driver, could just as easily have been drinking but not legally drunk, and would certainly never admit it if he were. They probably didn’t have a blood alcohol test in those days… I am sure his daughter eases the pain also by believing what she was told.
For those who call him a liar — Walk a mile in these shoes first!

11. David Young - September 20, 2008

It is an alarming fact that American politics has become a roosting place for some of the most accomplished liars in history. The Hollywood Democrats seem to be leading the pack but are definitely not alone nor are the Democrats, whether they are the Hollywood Democratic party, the registered Democratic party, or the Republicans, liars prevail because we Americans want to believe in the fantasy land of liars and are too lazy to spend a little time to question whatever is stated by a politician. We are about to lose our country to total socialism and don’t even know it. Shame on us.


Well, David, it’s funny that you bring that up because I think you have hit upon something fundamental in our political system; the need for wish fulfillment. Politicians tell people what they want to hear much of the time. In other cases they play upon fears. For instance, the Bush administration was clearly lying when they told us about all those “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, yet it scared the hell out of us enough to endorse the invasion of a country that had no such weapons. Mission accomplished.

Theirwatching - October 28, 2013

Well David, we are closer to socialism, our Constitution is being attacked, they’re trying to take our guns, we’re $17 Trillion in debt, huge numbers of people on welfare, and an insurance program is being forced down our throats. Talk about Americans not going to be able to feed their children now that they have to pay for Obamacare. More people will be going on welfare. Obama’s plan is working.

12. Mark Syman - September 24, 2008

This is a great example of how the cover-up is the most damaging. Joe Biden lying about essential facts, and then never reversing the lies, is the most damaging, more damaging than the original lie in the first place.

13. sherri - September 29, 2008

inquiring mind- Joe Biden had to be begged to take the oath of office and when he did it was on his terms. He was sworn in at his son’s hospital bed.
He then went to D.C. everyday and did his job for the country but he always came home to Delaware every night and did his job as DAD.

So yes he did put his son’s first.

14. saddened - October 3, 2008

i find it shocking how easy “we” Americans are at pointing fingers, blaming, calling names, and overlooking the real issues. just once i would like to read comments that weren’t and finger-pointing.

this whole situation with Biden and Dunn was a tradegy. one that a number of Americans deal with on a daily basis. one in which everyone deals with in their own manner. who are we to judge Biden or the Dunn family. each family suffered in their own way. and i believe each family will always feel the pain from the events that occurred in 1972, but this issue isn’t for us to judge or talk about like it is a court case.

i understand that some of you are upset because Biden has talked about it in public. WHAT else is he supposed to do?? it is an life-altering experience that his family struggled with– of course he is going to have a view from his side that he wants to share now and again. AND of course the Dunn family is going to do the same. BUT “we” are not to be the judge, jury, and hangmen for either side! this is something that needs to be listened to and not commented on!

15. concerned citizen who is sick of lying politicians - October 3, 2008

You can best believe that if alcohol was even thought to have been a contributing factor that with a high profile case like this, it would have been addressed. As tragic as the accident was, facts show that Mrs. Biden pulled out in front of the driver. He was found NOT at fault. There are many artciles from the man who investigated the accident who said that alcohol was not a factor and that the first metion of it was by Biden a couple days after 9-11. Could Biden have used the tradedy of his family as a political manuever to show understanding to the victims of 9-11 just as he is doing so on the campaign trail? You be the judge. Let his record speak the truth. Let us not forget when he makes these untrue comments about the driver of that truck. It is not up to him to determine whether to pursue the aledged drunk driving possibility. He should be ashamed to use his tragedy for political gain. It made me sick to my stomach to watch him in the debate last night, emotions and all, not even considering the hell that he has put the family of the driver through with his lies. This is the Vice President you want for our country? We deserve more. Also , let us not forget that he has been part of the problem for far too many years ( since he was 29). He has stood on party lines and unlike McCain has rarely crossed them. I just do not see him as a stand up kind of man.

Susan Fleming - February 13, 2015

I can only imagine that you have not known love in your life, so can’t begin to imagine the kind of grief Joe Biden must have been going through at the time. Shame on you for harboring so much hatred in your heart over politics of all things. It must be awful to be you.

pat - May 31, 2015

so if you have know love in your life that allows you to tell a bold face lie, even after 35 years when you have to know what happened!!!!

16. Phyllis - October 3, 2008

Okay people. You are missing the point. Even if Joe Biden said this truck driver was drunk, can you imagine how you would feel if in a split second you lost your wife and your 18 month old daughter and your two sons were admitted to the hospital? Where is the compassion? You say the truck driver’s life was hell. He’s alive and if he knew he was not at fault then he should not have felt guilty. I know he may have gone through a lot but there were lost lives here; he’s still around for his family.

As for the election, do you really want 4 more years of McBush? Give me a break. Do not judge a man on how he experienced a tragedy but by his ability to make sure an experience is not tragic. Wake up America, 8 years of experience has led us to a tragic ending. McCain is just another thorn in the bush. It’s a scary thought that there is a chance we will be just rolling over to the other side of the same bed. McCain is a war monger not presidential! Put your thinking caps on and stop thinking like an uneducated groupie.

normr - May 27, 2012

According to the police,. she pulled out from a stop sign which means stop and YIELD. Mr. Biden just made the statement to shift the responsibility. too many people will not acccept responsibility and this sounds like another. If the police thought the truck driver was drinking they would have charged him.

17. A. Natoli - October 3, 2008

Oh please … it was 1972 and they didn’t do blood tests checking for alcohol levels then. Stop using today’s standards to apply to earlier times. So evidently Biden was informed that the guy drank his lunch that day. He didn’t accuse him of being drunk … he said “allegedly.” Had this happened today even 1-2 beers would have resulted in a DUI.

Joe E - May 31, 2015

They absolutely did blood alcohol tests in 1972. Just as they do now. And especially in a fatal crash involving a large truck killing a public figure. You seem to think that 1972 was 100 years ago. The tens of thousands of people who were arrested for DUI’s during the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s based on blood alcohol, breathylizers, and urine tests would strongly disagree with you.

pat - May 31, 2015

joe biden was a lawyer, do you think for one minute he didn’t know all the facts in the case!!! it’s easy for you to say he shouldn’t feel guilty!!

pat - May 31, 2015

any time a commercial vehicle is involved in a fatality accident the first they do is a blood draw !!

18. Kamilla Elliott - October 3, 2008

All these accusations of lying are not founded on FACTS–they seem to come from the writers’ political positions: if you are a Republican, you accuse him of lying (not concerned at all, of course, about the many lies your own party has told or is telling).
FACT: Prior to the 1980s, the legal limit for alcohol in drivers was .10 -.15. Only since the 1980s, has it been .04. It would therefore have been impossible to judge whether the driver of the truck was drunk or not by today’s standards and totally reasonable to suspect that he might have been. It is the increase in knowledge about drunk driving over the years that led Biden to suspect it years later and not at the time.
FACT: Activism and awareness of drunk driving did not begin until the late 1970s with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and did not have much effect on laws until the late 80s in progressive states and the 1990s in the less progressive states. My own sister and her husband were killed by a drunk driver in 1987 and their 2-year-old son was permanently brain damaged. I know what I’m talking about. I know the FACTS.
Don’t accuse people of lying just because you don’t like their politics! That makes Americans look stupid and immoral and not to be taken seriously–I know because I now live in the UK and have to keep apologizing for my countrymen and women!

19. Diane - October 3, 2008

For those of you who have never lost a child, consider yourself blessed. For those of us who have, please forgive us if we think there may more to a story than what we are told. Unless you’ve been there, you have no idea what goes through a grieving parent’s mind. This is not about lying, this is about trying to make sense out of something that doesn’t. Over and over in your head you play out the scenario, looking for some reason, some cause, as to how something so terrible could happen to someone you love. Maybe Mr. Biden heard something that day, to make him think this. Maybe Mr. Dunn stopped somewhere that led him to believe this. My heart goes out to Mr. Biden, I understand his loss and I certainly understand his pain. It is forever.

20. Ned - October 3, 2008

I lost my 28 year old daughter on 12/2/2000 to a wrong way driver who hit her head on and killed her instantly. He left a 5 and a half year old daughter w/o her mother. To this day he has yet to say he was sorry for what he did. I can understand Mr. Biden’s state of mind at the time of the accident. But saying these things in 2007, 35 years later, about a man who was not at fault for anything is beyond my comprehension. As a retired law enforcement officer, who handled more than his share of fatal accidents in his career, my life has come full circle from seeing other peoples pain to having felt it myself. Mr. Biden, in my humble opinion, is wrong and should not only apologize to this man’s family but set the record straight once and for all.

21. Ned - October 3, 2008

Phyllis, the man died in 1999 and his family is coming to his defense because he isn’t here to defend himself. 35 years later, Biden still alleging the guy had been drinking is beyond compassion. Mr. Biden seems to be using the tragic story for other than honorable reasons. Keep in mind, I am just “Alleging” it…….

22. Sad - October 6, 2008

I couldn’t agree more with Kamilla Elliott wrote! It was far the most intellegent comment here. Food for thought though pretty ironic that Palin brought this all out and that Cindy Lou Hensley McCain family has profit from the sale of alcohol! (MADD) should consider this come election time even if you are a Hockey Mom! Say It Isn’t So “SARAH”

23. Frank - January 7, 2009

I really don’t give a shit if the driver was drinking or not. The point is this is a tragic story and it was hard to recover. Details aren’t that important anymore since it has been over for a while.

24. Jessica - January 22, 2009

Well, the guy could have been drunk or not!!The sad part is there was a 13 month old BABY who did not get to live as long as a normal person would!!!And his first wife is DEAD!!!!!SO SO SO SO SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

25. Mike - March 15, 2009

tragedy is niot the word for waht happened. travesty is… Yes, it was tragic that a family wa torn assunder from a traffic accident. the travesty is the way this man set out ot use it as a rop for his political ambitions. was aor was not the driver topf the semi truck under the influence? Was he cited? was he ever convicted (accept in the court of Joe Biden’spolitical machine)?

I cannot imagine the pain of losing not just a spouse but other members in the sasme accident. It does not however give one discretion to assasinate the ther victims 9sic) character. The driver of that 18 wheeler is his family is just as much a victim if wrongly accused in the court of public opinion by Joe Biden. He should resign immediately if his character is so flawed he is willing to let the lie continue.

26. Lou Angeli - March 25, 2009

For what it’s worth — I am a veteran firefighter and EMT-I based in Delaware. At the time of Neilia Biden’s accident I was studying at the University of Delaware and serving as a 20 year old probationary volunteer fireman.

On the afternoon of December 19th, I was returning home from classes when I heard a dispatch for a personal injury accident on my fire scanner. Although firefighters and first-aid personnel weren’t permitted to respond to alarms in our personal vehicles, I would have passed the accident on the way to the fire station, 6 miles away. So I stopped.

Law Enforcement on the scene included a Delaware State Police officer as well as a PA State Trooper, as the the state line is just 1/2 mile away. There was an ambulance and pumper from Hockessin Delaware as well as that department’s fire policemen. Three other ambulances were on their way from Newark and Pennsylvania.

The Trooper checked the registration and radioed his supervisor that he believed the victims to be members of the Biden family. Joe was flown directly to the accident scene by helicopter.

The first-in crew was working on Mrs. Biden and attempting to locate the infant, Naomi. Beau and Hunter Biden (Joe and Robert) had been bounced around on impact and had multiple injuries — including head injuries, lacerations and broken arms.

With the focus on the Biden family, another firefighter and I attended to Mr. Dunn. He was in shock, and had difficulty understanding me when I explained what had happened. I placed a cervical collar around his neck and checked vital signs. He was pretty badly banged up.

There was no way to determine if Mr. Dunn had been drinking, since neither of the police officers had blow kits. His injuries were such that his behavior was that of someone in a stupor, but those of you who serve as EMT’s know that such behavior is exhibited by victims who are in shock, or perhaps even diabetic.

I’m not sure of the order, but the ambulances began rushing the victims to Wilmington, about 16 miles away. Keep in mind it was the early 70’s and there was no such animal as a paramedic or a system called ALS. All of us on the scene had 40 hours of first-aid training, and we simply rushed the victims to the hospital as quickly and safely as possible.

Beau and Hunter were the last to be moved because they required quite a bit of immobilization. I recall Larry Mergenthaler and Don Lentes, both veteran firefighters working on the boys.

Lastly, all of the records pertaining to this accident are lost. Back then our fire incident report was filled out on a 3×5 card and filed in a box. Once a month the information was transferred to a master list, which was filed away.

Like most first responders, our participation in emergency incidents end when we back the ambulance into the station. Most EMS runs we tend to forget, but this is one that I’ll remember to my grave.

If Mr.Dunn was intoxiated, there was no clear cut indication at the scene. However, bloodwork at the old Delaware Hospital would have confirmed such. Unfortunately, those results are missing as well. To be honest, those of us in fire-rescue here in Delaware assumed that he (Dunn) was under the influence, but the Attorney General’s office didn’t have the proper evidence to try him.

Feel free to contact me via email or through my website.

Kim killgore - May 31, 2015

Your response is factual. The rest of these idiots…speculation.

pat - May 31, 2015

if you were drunk enough to be in a stupor you would think you could smell it on one breath. they were enough people that had to be in close proximity also commercial drivers in a fatal accident automatically draw blood for the d.o.t.!!

JimE - August 25, 2015

Mr Angeli: I am sorry that I don’t buy your conclusion. It doesn’t jibe with what you said through out the rest of what you wrote. You didn’t work on the truck driver so you are not is a position to make any statements regarding whether he the driver was alcoholically impaired. Besides that those who worked with the truck driver would have most likely smelled alcohol on the breath of the truck driver and then brought forth those suspicions. Also if the hospital blood work, if there was any in the first place, would have indicated any alcohol problem and it would have been flagged then and there before so called information got lost as you said. And your statement “To be honest, those of us in fire-rescue here in Delaware assumed that he (Dunn) was under the influence” just doesn’t cut it. You can’t make that statement personally because you didn’t work on the truck driver. Only those who actually worked on the truck driver could make a statement like that. And they wouldn’t make a statement like that unless they smelled alcohol on the truck drivers breath. And if they did that information would have been brought to the attention of the proper authorities at the scene of the accident. Of course it is obvious the Attorney General’s office didn’t have the proper evidence to try him because there never was any such evidence in the first place.

27. Jim - March 25, 2009

Maybe Mrs. Biden was drunk or impaired. Most likely she was simply distracted by her carload of kids. After all, she was the one who blew the stop sign and got T-boned by a truck. Get real, people.

28. Lou Angeli - March 26, 2009

Jim, you’re wrong.

29. Amy - March 29, 2009


I grew up hearing this story. With good reason, my name is Neilia Amy. I was born in July of 1973 and my parents were close friends of the Bidens’. Therefore, my name was born 7 months before I was. My Mother wanted me to know not ony about the woman for whom I was named, but also the accident which took them. I have a scrapbook that my Mother made for me that included clippings from the accident. From what I can pull from the articles there was an extremely through investigation into the accident and it was determined that the truck driver was not impared and was not at fault in this accident. I was also told other details of the accident that, out of respect for the family I won’t post here, support this finding. As an aside, I find it hard to believe that they were “working on” Neilia, given the nature of her injuries. If you were there, I do not need to go into graphic detail. I am not saying this in any way to harm Joe Biden. In fact, I learned all too well what he went through in those dark times when I lost my own son, ironically named Joseph, in his infancy.

30. Don Berkey - March 30, 2009

Thank you to the writer’s of Comments 26 and 29. I think it is a one-in-a-million chance that you happened to read this continuum. I’m glad that I also happened along. Whatever Mr. Biden’s grief I would hope that he, too, would read these comments and use some “news footage” to make himself appear “bigger” — even if he doesn’t mean it. People would think/say “It takes a big man to admit he’s wrong.” Who knows? Maybe he truly is a “small” man. That, most of us will never know. But it would mean a lot to the Dunn family if Mr Biden would make it clear that no evidence was found to indicate Mr Dunn had been drinking and that he (Joe Biden) regrets his having given in to the remorse (or whatever) powered statement(s) he made. Mr Biden’s recanting and appology should be unequivocal.

31. New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer - March 9, 2010

What a tragedy for anyone to have to endure, whether the guy was drunk or not, it’s a bad situation.

32. JimE - April 22, 2010

The truth of the matter is if Mrs Biden stopped at the stop sign or for that matter even if she didn’t stop and pulled out in front of a truck such that her vehicle was struck with this truck indicates she was at fault for pulling out in front of moving vehicle from a place where she should have stopped and stayed until the vehicle passed by.

It is sad no matter how one looks at it that Joe Bidens wife and daughter were killed and his sons injured. However it is even sadder that Mrs Biden was the cause of the accident and her own death and the death of her daughter and the injury of her two sons! It was bad judgment on her part and she and her family paid the price of that bad judgment. Every driver knows that one cannot pull out in front of moving vehicles except at your own peril. That cannot be denied!

33. JimE - April 22, 2010

Forgot to tic “Notify me of follow-up comments via email.”

34. Haywood - May 11, 2010

From what I’ve read, the man that hit them has never celebrated Christmas, since that tragic accident and he wasn’t drinking.

35. Serena - November 5, 2010

My husband is a tracker trailer driver. We have 2 boys and 2 girls. I hear stories from him all the time how people cut him off. People drive very careless. Yes I feel bad Biden lost his wife and daughter and their sons were hurt. I also feel bad for what Curtis and his family went through because of a driver being careless and in a rush around Christmas. It was a accident. Sorry so many lives were effected.

36. Bill Ayres - November 20, 2010

What’s the matter with you people

Biden lied repeatedly about Mr. Dunn, YEARS AFTER the accident! What is it about that you leftards don’t understand?

Petra Van Goor - July 20, 2012

What is it about the word ‘allegedly’ that you don’t understand?

pat - May 31, 2015

allegedly doesn’t apply, he didn’t have any alcohol in his system !!!

tomhartman - June 1, 2015

Since for the 10,000th time, there are no records showing he was drunk or not drunk, there is no way for any of us to know anything. I would go with the responder who was actually at the scene.

Cynthia Curry - June 1, 2015

You are correct Petra and Pat is wrong – allegedly DOES apply, because the truck driver was NEVER blood alcohol tested.

37. Bill Ayres - November 20, 2010

#18 kamilla,

if you feel you have to apologize for your countrymen and women, GROW A SPINE!!!

Delma Jones - October 30, 2011

AGREE Bill. That’s the best advice I have heard in a long time and I believe it applies to a lot of women (and some men) in this country ….. Are we really so unhappy with our lives that we feel we have to apologize to the world for being successful as a whole. True many fall through the cracks but overall we are blessed and are in danger of losing those blessings if we don’t watch out!!!!!

Cynthia Curry - June 1, 2015

Hey Bill Ayres – you are a typical right wing idiot. You politicize anything that involves Democrats. So since we are looking at “who is at fault” in car accidents from years ago, let’s look at who was at fault when Laura Bush killed an innocent boy in a car accident when she was in high school.

38. drinkwatergoldsteinlaw.com - February 11, 2012

This is a sad story. Drunk driving is one of many types of impaired driving, and impairment, of all kinds, causes or contributes to large portion of accidents. While there are some general rules that apply to any kind of impaired driving, there are some aspects which are unique to accidents caused by driving under the influence of alcohol.
While consuming alcohol is not illegal, there are very strict and specific laws against drinking and driving. So, it is worth noting that while you are pursing a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver who caused your accident and injuries, a criminal case will almost always be in the works, too. While these cases are completely separate, they can sometimes affect each other.

bob sklar - May 26, 2012

As an attorney, you know that causation is required before liability can be ascribed. To insinuate that alcohol was the cause of this accident, where the deceased ran a stop sign, is an specie of grandstanding. You should know better!!! Furthermore, the only difference between the civil case and the criminal case is the burden of proof. Think O.J. Simpson.

39. bob sklar - May 26, 2012

Probable facts: The tractor trailer was driving on a main thoroughfare. Tractor Trailers do not routinely drive on less than major thoroughfares. Mrs. Biden was on a side street attempting to enter the major thoroughfare.
Mrs. Biden was stopped at a stop sign, waiting for traffic to clear. The wait may have been long. While waiting for the right moment, Mrs. Biden was distracted by her baby, and looked away from the oncoming traffic.
When she resumed her attention to the street, she thought she had missed her opportunity to enter the street while distracted with her baby. She looked to the right and saw that it was clear. She did not look carefully to the left to see if it was clear. She entered the major thoroughfare and was struck from the left.
This accident happens a thousand times every day of the year across the country.

40. Jeanie McEachern - October 16, 2012

@ bob sklar: you accurately assess and outline a plausible scenario w/ ‘sobering’ [pardon the paronomasia] elucidations. i too doubt mr. dunn was intoxicated. neilia hunter biden was my classmate at SCS [skaneateles central school], and it shocked-to-the-craton our entire community when we learned of her baby daughter’s and her own tragic demise. neilia was a lovely, somewhat diffident, humble, and sweet-tempered girl. as a mother of 7 children myself, i can palpably imagine the inenarrably pressurized ambit neilia was endeavouring to function w/in: as a young mother of 3 rumbustious wee-uns in her car [ci-devant the draconian seat-restraint laws that all states subsequently instaurated]; the dramatic changes in her life subsequent to her husband’s recent senatorial election triumph; and the oppressive dictates of moving house whilst trying to organize standard xmas rituals for both her extended family and her nuclear family. neilia was a vulnerable, distracted, and well-meaning mother who aleatorically found herself driving that day inside a motorized pressure-cooker, and she paid w/ the life of her daughter and herself. i suspect her husband’s grief transmogrified into a vertiginous maelstrom of rage that remains unresolved 4 decades later.

DontRush2Judge - May 31, 2015

Wow Jeanie! Thanks for making a point to regale us with every spelling bee word you ever learned!

41. chris Summ - November 7, 2012

Why are we wasting all this time pointing fingers? Bottom line, a mother and child have passed. Mr. Biden and his family suffered a great loss and the truck driver also suffered silently. Even though so much time has passed since this tragedy occurred, I’m sure the haunting memories of the accident are still very much alive. I believe we should pray for all who suffered and move on from this discussion. Mr. Biden suffered a greater loss here. He did not grow old with his wife nor watch his daughter grow. This whole story is a tragedy.

42. Joe Biden is Insane and should be replaced immediately - Page 2 - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum - January 19, 2013

[…] […]

43. rosie - January 24, 2013

all i would like to now is when is the birthday of mrs biden?

Jeanie McEachern - January 25, 2013

neila hunter biden was born in 1942, but i don’t recall the month [it’s a challenge for me to recall my own bantlings’ birthdays].

44. Tom - March 28, 2013

Half his family died. I don’t see how anyone can sit there tutting away saying “oh he was a liar”
The man’s wife and baby daughter died for Christ sake. His first love and one of the three people he loved more than anything probably. Regardless of whether or not he was drinking, that truck driver was driving the vehicle that killed them. Of course he’s going to blame the driver. I’m not saying the driver was responsible but to not be sympathetic to biden’s situation is just fucking ridiculous. Biden contemplated suicide afterwards and I think the fact that he didn’t showed how caring he was for his other two kids

Jim E - March 28, 2013

I don’t think there is hardly anyone here that doesn’t or don’t sympathize with the loss Joe Biden suffered in the loss of his wife and daughter.. But for him to try to take it out on the truck driver when his wife was plainly the one who was at fault, no matter the reason for her pulling out in front of a moving vehicle, is a pretty low blow..

ALLAN DUNN - August 19, 2013

this is the son of curtis dunn , every christmas after dad would say well , there gos a family’s christmas , he was never the same , biden wated till my father died be for he slandered him, DID YOU KNOW … by law the one who is being slandered can sue , my mom can’t by law , but her pain is alway’s there over this lie , so biden went to vareis collage’s poping , off on his speach’s ahhh yeah my wife was killed in a wreck where a truck driver chose to drink his lunch instead of eating it , LIE … HE WAS AFTER THE SYMATHY VOTE … THIS GUY IS BAD NEW’S I’M TELLING YA … VOTE WISE PEOPLE , AND GOD BLESS …..

christa erika - May 31, 2015

the trucker should have sued him for libel…….his career was probably ruined by Biden’s false campaign statements……….

his wife was clearly at fault….killing herself and her daughter
and injuring the boys as well…..

45. Freedom Fighter - August 20, 2013

I can barely believe what I am reading….from you Americans! First of all, I don’t trust a single word that Joe Biden says…he looks and acts like a fool most of the time. How could anyone trust what he says, what he does and how he tells his story. Evidently, he did blame the driver of the truck for his wife’s poor decision to save his skin and his wife’s good name. He was interested in winning the election and this was an interruption. Quit with the emotion everyone and look at the facts. We all feel pity for the remaining family, but one cannot ruin another life and family to gain pity for yourself. He had a duty to his sons to be at their sides and should have put aside his political aspirations for the time being…the country would be a lot better off if he would have quit the race back then. Stay with the facts people and quit making excuses for this lying jerk!

46. Will Leader - July 2, 2014

Thank you Allan for exposing your truth, and your family’s truth, too.

GrandmaR - January 19, 2015

Yes, Rt.7 was a “thoroughfare” highway. I traveled that side road (not to be thought of as a “street), myself, quite often from my residence in Chester Co. Pa into Delaware. Usually I was turning right onto Rt. 7, but sometimes crossing Rt. 7 towards Hockessin, DE. At that stop sign was a slight rise in the side road — not a place likely for running the stop sign by accident. The best speculation at the time (by authorities as well as those who knew Mrs. Biden) was that she lifted her foot from the brake pedal (perhaps to turn around to the back seat) and the engine’s idle carried the vehicle out into the path of the oncoming truck. Rt. 7 is very straight and open and back then at that time of day, traffic would have likely been sparse. It was said that the investigation showed that the truck was so close that when the Biden vehicle pulled out in front of it, the driver had no chance to avoid hitting it. The HOW and WHY of Mrs. Biden’s pulling out into the path of the truck was a mystery never solved — but I took the speculation to be the most likely solution to that mystery. And so did Joe Biden at the time, as I remember.

Why he would later, much later, dream up the “drunken truck driver” story is beyond me. My guess is that this occured at the will of his “handlers,” so that he would have a “short answer” to the question and not need to “explain” the how and why of the reality. But mainly so that the PR people themselves had a pat statement/answer for the media that would render Joe a sympathetic “victim.” I was a reporter/editor for a small Pa. newspaper when this happened, and I followed the investigation closely. What matters is that it was not so. He should fix it. The truck driver was NEVER blamed for that accident, and in fact was found blameless. And YES, we did have accident investigations “way back then,” and YES, intoxicated drivers were held responsible for causing wrecks, especially fatals.

christa erika - May 31, 2015

finally, the truth is told…….thank you GrandmaR……your scenario is probably right….who hasn’t turned to unruly children to reprimand their behavior or comfort a crying infant …..kudos for the honest reply

politicians become liars to promote themselves in a more favorable light…..they are ALL guilty of this……

47. Bobo brazile - January 19, 2015

Biden like the scum sucking president are both liars.

clancy - February 20, 2015

amen to that he calls himself a catholic let him hang his head in shame he lies gropes women and young girls and I call him Vice president Bafoon because he always puts his foot in his mouth. talk about being a hearbeat away from the presidency? This idiot would be like having pee Wee Herman as president. But like he said to Obama, this is a big Fing deal. What a nice catholic boy!

tomhartman - June 1, 2015

You should sign up for the upcoming one way, “MARS ONE” mission and give everyone a break.

48. Michelle - May 30, 2015

The article stated that she pulled away from the stop sign. She got broadsided. Her fault… The end…

CeeGee - June 1, 2015

Regardless of fault…it was an ACCIDENT!!!!! She did not intentionally put herself and all three children in harms way!! So your dumb butt is saying its justified because he made a mistake!!!..how STUPID can a human be…you are human aren’t you????

49. kwesiga joel keith m - May 30, 2015


50. How Joe Biden Grieved - And Survived - MorningStandard.com - May 31, 2015

[…] their station wagon was blindsided by a truck, knocked off the side of the road, and rammed by three […]

51. Trish - May 31, 2015

–Rather than using it for political purposes, Joe Biden might actually believe what he says because he wants to believe it
–Joe Biden deep down may blame himself that he wasn’t at home at the time helping his wife take care of their three young children
–Neila may have been sleep-deprived and frazzled, hence accidentally pulling out in front of an oncoming truck

From everything I’ve read, it sounds as if Joe Biden owes an apology to the family of Mr. Dunn.

Trish - May 31, 2015

Forgot to say that I sympathize with Joe Biden for all his losses, including the loss today of his son Beau. What terrible tragedies to live through. I can’t imagine.

52. How Joe Biden Grieved – And Survived | Equities Canada - May 31, 2015

[…] their station wagon was blindsided by a truck, knocked off the side of the road, and rammed by three […]

JimE - June 1, 2015

Two interesting links for reading.



One thing that is interesting to me is this website is still alive after all of these years. People on both sides of the issue feel strongly about it.

And I am sorry to hear that he lost his Son Beau.

53. e.g.g. - June 6, 2015

The 1970’s were different when it came to drinking and driving and accident investigation.
My brother and cousin were killed on Mother’s Day in 1971. The accident investigation was nothing like is done today. My brother’s accident was inconclusive. It was the surviving driver saying things, no witnesses to contradict or support what the surviving driver said, and my brother and cousin were dead so they could not give their version of what happened. Some evidence showed the surviving driver to be lying. If the 1970’s had the know how like today there would have been different outcomes of accidents. Of course even today some officers do not do a good and thorough job investigating an accident. And today people who witness such things don’t want to get involved and tell what they saw. No one wants to do the right thing anymore. Very sad commentary about our society.

To attack someone over a tragedy in their life is despicable. It happened to me. My child died and two coworkers who hated me said horrible, horrible things about it. They should have been fired for what they said. I went over the managers head and at least the manager got in trouble for not reprimanding the two infantile hateful coworkers. It is awful for people to do that to one another when a tragedy occurs.

OLP - June 7, 2015

I”m sorry for your loss and what your co-workers did to you. Also sorry that you had to read a lot of hurtful things here as well. Everything isn’t political; but when people think and react the way I’m reading here, it says a lot more about them than the people they’re attacking.

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