By most accounts, there had been 121 eyewitnesses to the assassination of President Kennedy. The clear majority felt shots had come from the rear of the grassy knoll. If it had been an election, the grassy knoll ticket would have been considered the winner in a landslide.1
Lee Bowers was a Union Terminal switch operator in the railway yards behind the grassy knoll. On the day of the assassination, he was working in a 14-foot tower which had a clear view of fence at the grassy knoll (although Gerald Posner suggests that at the time of the assassination, Bowers may have had his back to the fence, as he was operating the
tower control panel)2. He testified for the Warren Commission that:
"There was a flash of light or something [in the fence area]. [...] Something I could not identify... some unusual occurance -- a flash of light or smoke or something which caused me to feel that something out of the ordinary had occurred there."
At this point in his testimony, the Commission investigator diverted questioning away from the grassy knoll, and Bowers' official recollections went no further.3
Bowers died in 1966, the victim of an auto accident. His car drove off the highway into a concrete abutment for reasons that are unclear. Obviously, this sounds like a classic JFK "mysterious death", and in fact, is so listed by Penn Jones, the former editor of the Midlothian Mirror. Penn's list contains over 100 mysterious deaths, and Gerald Posner, in Case Closed takes time to redicule the mysteriousness of each of these deaths. In mentioning Lee Bowers, Posner states:
Since Bowers's car drove off the highway into a concrete abutment, there was suspicion he might have been forced off the road. Researcher David Perry, in "The Lee Bowers Story," (published in the Third Decade, an assassination newsletter), conclusively proved that Bower's death was accidental.4 (Emphasis added)
Now, the concluding paragraph of David Perry's article reads:
In the end, Monty Bowers concluded Lee's allergies contributed to his death. Both Monty and Lee had severe allergies and were prone to fits of sneezing. They took antihistamines that provided little relief. Monty told representatives of the insurance company his allergies bothered him that day. He assumed Lee experienced similar symptoms. Could it be, Lee took antihistamines, dozed off and struck the abutment? Is it possible a sneezing fit caused him to loose control of the vehicle? In my view the answer is YES. I will modify my opinion when someone comes forward with verifiable facts to the contrary.5
I have no evidence to contradict Perry's conclusions, but I was very disappointed in Posner for suggesting that these conclusions were conclusive. A minor point, to be true, but this one situation made me a bit more skeptical about Posners statements of "facts".
1 Bob Callahan, Who Shot JFK? p. 60
2 Gerald Posner, Case Closed p. 254
3 Who Shot JFK? p. 61
4 Case Closed p. 493
5 David Perry, "The Lee Bowers Story". The complete text of this essay is available on the web.