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Two Waynesboro, Pa., teens among four killed in crash

July 28, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Waynesboro residents Sylvia Kay Hess, 14, and her brother Brian Ray Hess, 13, were on the way to the Roanoke, Va., church where their father was preaching Sunday when the car in which they were riding ran out of control.

The ensuing accident claimed the lives of the two youngsters, of 7746 Burkholder Road, as well as those of their aunt, Anna Marie Talbert, 47, who was driving, and Talbert's son, David Talbert, 14.

Irvin Hess, brother of Sylvia and Brian, was critically injured in the accident. He was listed in critical condition Monday night at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

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Their parents, Roland R. and Loretta Jamison Hess, remained in Roanoke to be near Irvin, a family member said. The children's sister, Myrna Hess, was not in the car.

Anna Marie Talbert, of Boones Mill, Va., was Loretta Hess' sister.

Two of Talbert's children remained hospitalized Monday. Matthew Talbert, 15, was listed in satisfactory condition and Rebekah Talbert, 12, was listed in stable condition, a hospital spokesman said.

On Monday, family members were coming to grips with the tragedy.

A child's tree swing was motionless under a green sycamore tree in a yard off Hess Benedict Road in Quincy, Pa., Monday afternoon.

On many days, when 3-year-old Chandra Hess awoke from her afternoon nap, her cousin Sylvia would be there, ready to push her on the swing.

Chandra was having a hard time understanding why Sylvia won't be coming over to push her on the swing anymore, said her father, Edward Hess, Roland Hess' brother.

"Chandra's starting to catch on that Sylvia won't be here anymore. It's hard on a little girl like that," Hess said.

He said his niece and nephews were frequent visitors to his farm, where he raises sweet corn, apples, peaches and honeybees.

"All three were ambitious. They were good workers," he said.

He said he always thought Brian would follow in his father's footsteps and become a carpenter, while Sylvia would become a homemaker like her mother.

"She always worked in the garden and baby-sat for her nieces and nephews. All of them helped in the orchard, with the cider making, selling the corn and with the orchard," he said.

Sylvia graduated this year from Providence School, a small private school in Waynesboro run by the German Baptist Church sect to which the Hess family belongs. She had planned to continue her education with home schooling.

Brian had just completed the seventh grade at the Providence School.

A new Providence School is being built on land donated by Roland Hess adjacent to his farm on Burkholder Road, Edward Hess said. It will replace an old school building on Hess Benedict Road that has become overcrowded, he said.

According to Roanoke City Police, the crash occurred on Mount Pleasant Boulevard around 9:50 a.m.

The front brakes on Talbert's 1980 station wagon started to break off and pieces fell in the road, so hot they were glowing red and burned holes in the pavement, police said. The vehicle struck a guard rail, went over the railing and rolled over at least twice before catching fire, police said.

Several passersby tried to put out the fire with fire extinguishers and by shoveling dirt on it, police said.

At the time of the accident, the family was headed for the Peters Creek Old German Baptist Church in Roanoke, where Roland Hess, a minister, was to preach.

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