The man who crashed into two cars on Hiram way on 8 November 1936 told the other drivers his name was Charles McCombs, then drove a few blocks to Ray street before abandoning the car. At that moment, however, Charles McCombs was at the police station reporting that his car had been stolen.
The damaged car was returned to Mr McCombs. The thief was never caught—at least, not in connection with that crime. The only recorded fact about him is that he knew the name of the man whose car he had taken.
Five years later, a car belonging to a man from Grove City was stolen in New Castle. It was found in the possession of Mr McCombs’ son, Clyde, a thirty-two year old carpenter, who was charged with larceny of an auto. If it occurred to anyone that Clyde was evidently not only capable of stealing a car but was also someone who would have known the name of the owner of the stolen car in 1936, the thought was not acted upon. Clyde protested his innocence and was released; the case never came to court.
The car from Grove City was stolen the night before the attack on Pearl harbor. Clyde was drafted in time for the invasion of Normandy and spent two years in the Quartermaster Corps, supplying petroleum to troops in France and Germany, before returning to New Castle. He took up carpentry again and did some general contracting. He and his wife, Rose, had three sons.
In 1975, he was driving over the Division street intersection towards the car wash when he blacked out for a moment and drove straight into a Pennsylvania Power Company pole on the sidewalk. The police took him to the hospital, where they informed him he had caused $800-worth of damage and cited him for driving without a licence.
Clyde had head injuries, a broken hip and internal bleeding. He went into shock before the operation on his hip and died five days later. He was sixty-five years old.Sources: New Castle News (9 Nov 1936, “Stolen Automobile Involved In Crash”; 16
Dec 1941, “Charge Preferred”; 25 June 1975, “County Report”; 26 June 1975, “Auto
Accident Victim Remains In St Francis”; 30 June 1975, “Deaths Of The Day”; 30
June 1975, “Accident Injuries Kill Man”)