59 Witnesses: Delay on Elm Street

(Revised update-1998)

by Vince Palamara


-UPI's "Four Days" (1964), p. 17---In the right hand picture [a frame from the Muchmore film], the driver slams on the brakes and the police escort pulls up."

-"Newsweek", 12/2/63, p. 2---"For a chaotic moment, the motorcade ground to an uncertain halt."

-"Time", 11/29/63, p. 23---"There was a shocking momentary stillness, a frozen tableau."

-"Case Closed" by Gerald Posner (1993), p. 234---"Incredibly, SA Greer, sensing that something was wrong in the back of the car, slowed the vehicle to almost a standstill." AND -Gerald Posner, with Dan Rather, on CBS' "Who Killed JFK: The Final Chapter?", 11/19/93---By turning around the second time and looking at JFK as the car slows down, Posner says that "What he [Greer] has done is inadvertently given Oswald the easiest of the three shots."

DID JOHN F. KENNEDY'S LIMOUSINE COME TO A STOP DURING THOSE TERRIBLE SIX SECONDS ON ELM STREET, OR DID IT SLOW DOWN? OR NEITHER? I INVITE THE READER TO LOOK AT THE STATEMENTS OF THE FOLLOWING WITNESSES; THEIR TESTIMONY AND COMMENTS, AS WE SEEK TO FIND THE TRUTH:

1) Houston Chronicle Reporter Bo Byers (rode in White House Press Bus)---twice stated that the Presidential Limousine "almost came to a stop, a dead stop"; in fact, he has had nightmares about this. [C-SPAN, 11/20/93, "Journalists Remember The Kennedy Assassination"; see also the 1/94 "Fourth Decade": article by Sheldon Inkol];

2) ABC Reporter Bob Clark (rode in the National Press Pool Car)---Reported on the air that the limousine stopped on Elm Street during the shooting [WFAA/ ABC, 11/22/63];

3) UPI White House Reporter Merriman Smith (rode in the same car as Clark, above)---"The President's car, possibly as much as 150 or 200 yards ahead, seemed to falter briefly" [UPI story, 11/23/63, as reported in "Four Days", UPI, p. 32];

4) DPD motorcycle officer James W. Courson (one of two mid-motorcade motorcycles)--"The limousine came to a stop and Mrs. Kennedy was on the back. I noticed that as I came around the corner at Elm. Then the Secret Service agent [Clint Hill] helped push her back into the car, and the motorcade took off at a high rate of speed." ["No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), p. 129];

5) DPD motorcycle officer Bobby Joe Dale (one of two rear mid-motorcade motorcycles)---"After the shots were fired, the whole motorcade came to a stop. I stood and looked through the plaza, noticed there was commotion, and saw people running around his [JFK's] car. It started to move, then it slowed again; that's when I saw Mrs. Kennedy coming back on the trunk and another guy [Clint Hill] pushing her back into the car." ["No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), p. 134];

6) Clemon Earl Johnson---"You could see it [the limo] speed up and then stop, then speed up, and you could see it stop while they [sic; Clint Hill] threw Mrs. Kennedy back up in the car. Then they just left out of there like a bat of the eye and were just gone." ["No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), p. 80];

7) Malcolm Summers---"Then there was some hesitation in the caravan itself, a momentary halt, to give the Secret Service man [Clint Hill] a chance to catch up with the car and jump on. It seems to me that it started back up by the time he got to the car "["No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), p. 104];

8) NBC reporter Robert MacNeil (rode in White House Press Bus)---"The President's driver slammed on the brakes---after the third shot " ["The Way We Were, 1963: The Year Kennedy Was Shot" by Robert MacNeil (1988), p. 193];

9) AP photographer Henry Burroughs (rode in Camera Car #2)---" we heard the shots and the motorcade stopped." [letter, Burroughs to Palamara, dated 10/14/98];

10) DPD Earle Brown---" The first I noticed the [JFK's] car was when it stopped..after it made the turn and when the shots were fired, it stopped." [6 H 233];

11) DPD motorcycle officer Bobby Hargis (one of the four Presidential motorcyclists)---" At that time [immediately before the head shot] the Presidential car slowed down. I heard somebody say 'Get going.' I felt blood hit me in the face and the Presidential car stopped almost immediately after that." [6 H 294; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb and Perry Adams (1974), p. 71; 6/26/95 videotaped interview with Mark Oakes & Ian Griggs: "That guy (Greer) slowed down, maybe his orders was to slow down slowed down almost to a stop." Like Posner, Hargis feels Greer gave Oswald the chance to kill Kennedy.];

12) DPD D.V. Harkness---" I saw the first shot and the President's car slow[ed] down to almost a stop I heard the first shot and saw the President's car almost come to a stop and some of the agents [were] piling on the car." [6 H 309];

13) DPD James Chaney (one of the four Presidential motorcyclists)---stated that the Presidential limousine stopped momentarily after the first shot (according to the testimony of Mark Lane; corroborated by the testimony of fellow DPD motorcycle officer Marion Baker: Chaney told him that " at the time, after the shooting, from the time the first shot rang out, the car stopped completely, pulled to the left and stopped Now I have heard several of them say that, Mr. Truly was standing out there, he said it stopped. Several officers said it stopped completely." [2 H 44-45 (Lane)---referring to Chaney's statement as reported in the "Houston Chronicle" dated 11/24/63; 3 H 266 (Baker)];

14) DPD motorcycle officer B.J. Martin (one of the four Presidential motorcyclists)---saw JFK's car stop " just for a moment." ["Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 71];

15) DPD motorcycle officer Douglas L. Jackson (one of the four Presidential motorcyclists)---stated " that the car just all but stopped just a moment." ["Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 71];

16) Texas Highway Patrolman Joe Henry Rich (drove LBJ's car)---stated that " the motorcade came to a stop momentarily." ["Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 71];

17) DPD J.W. Foster---stated that " immediately after President Kennedy was struck the car in which he was riding pulled to the curb." [CD 897, pp. 20, 21; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 97];

18) Secret Service Agent Sam Kinney (driver of the follow-up car behind JFK's limo)---indicates, via his report to Chief Rowley, that Greer hit the gas after the fatal head shot to JFK and after the President's slump to the left toward Jackie. [18 H 731-732]. From the HSCA's 2/26/78 interview of Kinney: "He also remarked that 'when Greer (the driver of the Presidential limousine) looked back, his foot must have come off the accelerator' Kinney observed that at the time of the first shot, the speed of the motorcade was '3 to 5 miles an hour.'" [RIF#180-10078-10493; author's interviews with Kinney, 1992-1994];

19) Secret Service Agent Clint Hill (follow-up car, rear of limo)---" I jumped from the follow-up car and ran toward the Presidential automobile. I heard a second firecracker-type noise SA Greer had, as I jumped onto the Presidential automobile, accelerated the Presidential automobile forward." [18 H 742; Nix film; "The Secret Service" and "Inside The Secret Service" videos from 1995];

20) Secret Service Agent John Ready (follow-up car)---" I heard what sounded like fire crackers going off from my post on the right front running board. The President's car slowed " [18 H 750];

21) Secret Service Agent Glen Bennett (follow-up car)---after the fatal head shot "the President's car immediately kicked into high gear." [18 H 760; 24 H 541-542]. During his 1/30/78 HSCA interview, Bennett said the follow-up car was moving at "10-12 m.p.h.", an indication of the pace of the motorcade on Elm Street [RIF#180-10082-10452];

22) Secret Service Agent "Lem" Johns (V.P. follow-up car)---" I felt that if there was danger [it was] due to the slow speed of the automobile." [18 H 774]. During his 8/8/78 HSCA interview, Johns said that "Our car was moving very slowly", a further indication of the pace of the motorcade on Elm Street [RIF# 180-10074-10079; Altgens photo];

23) Secret Service Agent Winston Lawson (rode in the lead car)---" I think it [the lead car on Elm Street] was a little further ahead [of JFK's limo] than it had been in the motorcade, because when I looked back we were further ahead." [4 H 352], an indication of the lag in the limo during the assassination.;

24) Secret Service Agent William "Tim" McIntyre (follow-up car)---"He stated that Greer, driver of the Presidential limousine, accelerated after the third shot." [RIF#180-10082-10454: 1/31/78 HSCA interview];

25) Mrs. Earle ("Dearie") Cabell (rode in the Mayor's car)---the motorcade "stopped dead still when the noise of the shot was heard." [7 H 487; "Accessories After the Fact" by Sylvia Meagher (1967), p. 4; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 71];

26) Phil Willis---" The [Presidential] party had come to a temporary halt before proceeding on to the underpass." [7 H 497; "Crossfire" by Jim Marrs (1989), p. 24];

27) Mrs. Phil (Marilyn) Willis---after the fatal head shot, "she stated the Presidential limousine paused momentarily and then sped away under the Triple Underpass." [FBI report dated 6/19/64; "Photographic Whitewash" by Harold Weisberg (1967), p. 179];

28) Mrs. John (Nellie) Connally (rode in JFK's limo)---JFK's car did not accelerate until after the fatal head shot. [4 H 147; WR 50; "Best Evidence" by David Lifton (1988), p. 122];

29) Texas Governor John Connally (rode in JFK's limo and himself a victim of the assassination)---" After the third shot, I heard Roy Kellerman tell the driver, 'Bill, get out of line.' And then I saw him move, and I assumed he was moving a button or something on the panel of the automobile, and he said 'Get us to a hospital quick' at about this time, we began to pull out of the cavalcade, out of line." [4 H 133; WR50; "Crossfire" by Jim Marrs (1989), p. 13];

30) Dallas Morning News reporter Robert Baskin (rode in the National Press Pool Car)---stated that " the motorcade ground to a halt." ["Dallas Morning News", 11/23/63, p. 2; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 71];

31) Dallas Morning News reporter Mary Woodward (Pillsworth)---" Instead of speeding up the car, the car came to a halt."; she saw the President's car come to a halt after the first shot. Then, after hearing two more shots, close together, the car sped up. [2 H 43 (Lane); DMN, 11/23/63; 24 H 520; "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" 1988]. She spoke forcefully about the car almost coming to a stop and the lack of proper reaction by the Secret Service in 1993. [C-SPAN, 11/20/93, "Journalists Remember The Kennedy Assassination"; see also the 1/94 "Fourth Decade": article by Sheldon Inkol];

32) AP photographer James Altgens---"He said the President's car was proceeding at about ten miles per hour at the time [of the shooting] Altgens stated the driver of the Presidential limousine apparently realized what had happened and speeded up toward the Stemmons Expressway." [FBI report dated 6/5/64; "Photographic Whitewash" by Harold Weisberg (1967), p. 203] "The car's driver realized what had happened and almost if by reflex speeded up toward the Stemmons Expressway." [AP dispatch, 11/22/63; "Cover-Up" by Stewart Galanor (1998), Document 28];

33) Alan Smith---" the car was ten feet from me when a bullet hit the President in the forehead the car went about five feet and stopped." ["Chicago Tribune", 11/23/63, p. 9; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 71];

34) Mrs. Ruth M. Smith---confirmed that the Presidential limousine had come to a stop. [CD 206, p. 9; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 97];

35) TSBD Supervisor Roy Truly---after the first shot " I saw the President's car swerve to the left and stop somewheres down in the area [it stopped] for a second or two or something like that I just saw it stop." [3 H 221, 266];

36) L.P. Terry---" The parade stopped right in front of the building [TSBD]." ["Crossfire" by Jim Marrs (1989), p. 26];


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