The news of Parker High School’s opening was overshadowed by the deaths of three Craig students in a traffic accident two days before.
A banner headline on the front page of the Janesville Daily Gazette on Feb. 12, 1968, announced “Crash near Edgerton fatal to 3 girls from Janesville.” Under the headline were enlarged school photos of the girls who had died and three who were injured.
A story on the new high school’s first day, so long anticipated, was relegated to the bottom of the front page. It included a single small photo.
Sally Mixon, 16, had been driving her father’s 1966 four-door sedan to a wrestling match in Edgerton on Saturday, Feb. 10, 1968. Her friends, Nanette Porter, Patricia Steinbicer, Connie Hefty, Bonnie Wait and Dorothy Zyc, were in the car with her.
Mixon apparently lost control of the car at about 12:45 p.m. on River Road, about a half-mile southeast of Edgerton. The car left the road, rolled down a steep ditch, took out a wire fence and hit a large oak tree.
Mixon and Porter died instantly. Steinbicer was taken to University Hospital in Madison but died the next day.
Hefty and Wait both suffered broken legs, and Zyc sustained minor injuries.
All the girls attended Craig.
Nanette Porter’s mother, Elizabeth Porter, was a teacher at Craig.
The news filtered through the teen and parent grapevine at a Parker High School basketball game Saturday night and “cast a pall” over classes at Craig on Monday.
Jack Mixon, Sally Mixon’s father, taught at Parker.
He told the Gazette after the accident that he “didn’t much want” his daughter to go to the wrestling match.
“But I finally agreed to let her go,” he said. “You’ve got to let them go sometime.”