Enyone emember the spree murders on the Pa. Turnpike by the son of Step 'n Fetchit??

in the late '60s or early 70s.

I was driving West to East about 30 minutes behind him. I remember seeing cars driven into the wood and bodies with legs sticking out from under yellow tarps.

He drove alongside randomly picked out cars and, using a shotgun, blew away the drivers. I think he killed about 5 and then killed himself.

He was the son of the man who played the character
Step 'n Fetchit in the movies.

I was pretty shaken up by the time I arrived in Pittsburgh.

The story hit the papers but did ot get much play, I think, for fear of exacerbating racial tensions.

This bio
only mentions that his son comitted suicide. It says nothing about his having murdered other people. Doesn’t mean that he didn’t. It just doesn’t say.

April 7, 1969.
“Donald Lambright, who shot three persons to death and then killed himself on the Pennsylvania Turnpikke Saturday had been told that he was a potential sucicide and needed psychiatric help. Lambright was the son of Stepin Fetchit, the comedian.” [15:1-4]

While you’ll have to read down to page 15 in my link, the story told adds an interesting take on the incident.


The link’s author seems to omit the fact that Lambright MURDERED three people before taking his own life.It does indicate that he was an angry militant and advocated violence.

The whole incident was covered up. The weekend on which it occurred was the first anniversary of the MLK assassination. The incident was too incendiary to play up. This was, of course, in the days before cable TV.

I’ll never forget the sight of the cars that had driven off into the woods and the sight of some feet of a dead person sticking out from under and orange tarp.

Today, we would equate Lambright with a suicide bomber or a terrorist.
The Times tried to dismiss him as a person with mental problems. Probably both are true.

One issue is his probable rebellion against the obsequious role his father played as Stepin Fetchit in the movies. In the 70s, his father developed a changed, more positive, public role.

the author of the link, was a colorful tap dancer and a communist, who died in the year 2000. He became an advocate of non-violence.

Doing some research on this and came upon this old thread. As a 12-year old boy I witnessed this rampage while traveling with my family on that day. We were the first car to stop at the fatal shooting of the couple with the boy. Their car was up on its side and the wheels were still spinning when we stopped. Both adults had been thrown from the car and were lying on the ground. The boy was walking around in shock and my mother comforted him until the police arrived. Sadly, we watched his mother take her last breath and it is a horrifying visual memory I will never forget. She was a rather large woman wearing a white top and black pants, lying on her back with blood on her mouth and nose. It was cold outside, and there were patches of snow on the ground, and we watched as her breath diminished and stopped altogether. The man lay facedown in the shadow of the car, unmoving. (If the car toppled from it’s precarious setting it would have fallen on him) Later, we passed another accident, a car nosed into the woods with people standing around it. Then, we passed the shooter’s car, two people lying dead beside it and a rifle and some things on the roof of the car. The whole area was crawling with police. We did not know the entire story until the next day when we read it in the newspaper. I was curious as to the exact date this happened and started looking on the internet, and found this discussion group and thread. One of the most horrifying and memorable days in my young life at that time. I remember my Dad being perplexed that this was not national news and that it disappeared from the media very quickly. He always commented that ‘something was not right with that’…just my 2 cents. My prayers go out to that man (the young boy my age at the time) and the tragedy he endured.