Disabled Fillmore veteran killed in canyon accident had been befriended by SP

May 24, 2000
Santa Paula News
The Fillmore man killed in a Grimes Canyon Road accident on Tuesday had captured the heart of Santa Paulans last summer when his wife's car was stolen from an area shopping center. . .and with it his wheelchair. The vehicle and wheelchair were recovered within days with the help of local citizens who offered an outpouring of support for the couple. Donald Ross Blair, 71, was riding in the recovered Dodge Spirit on May 35th through Grimes Canyon when the vehicle - driven by his wife Lois, 60 - was struck by an out of control cement truck. Traveling southbound, the Blair's vehicle was struck by the northbound truck; the driver, David Wolf, 35 of Camarillo, lost control, overturned and crashed into the car. The CHP is investigating the brakes on the truck, owned by National Ready Mix Concrete Co. of Moorpark.The couple was driving their grandchildren, twins Brittany and Bryan Blair, 5 years old, to Grace Brethren Elementary School in Simi Valley when the accident occurred. Donald Blair was pronounced dead at the scene and Lois - who had to be cut out of the wreckage that balanced precariously on a cliff above a 200-foot drop - was transported by helicopter to Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks where her condition is listed as serious but stable, according to a hospital spokeswoman. The twins were transported to Simi Valley Hospital where both were treated; Bryan was released shortly after the accident but Brittany received more serious injuries and was admitted. She is in stable condition.Donald Blair, recognized as the final prisoner of World War II, was killed instantly in the crash that occurred at about 7:15 a.m.In June 1999 the Blair captured the imagination and affection of the public when their Dodge containing Don Blair's wheelchair, his only means of contract with the outside world, were stolen in Santa Paula.Dozens of offers to help the Blair’s purchase a new wheelchair poured into the SPPD after it was learned that the loss wasn’t covered under their auto insurance policy.
But, within days of the loss good citizens who had read of the Blair's plight called the Santa Paula Police Department to say they had found the wheelchair and then the vehicle.During World War II, Blair, serving with the Navy, was captured in China by communists during an attack on Dec. 3, 1946. Although the war officially ended just weeks later, on Dec. 31, Blair was held by communist troops until Jan. 15, 1947 and he became the last recognized prisoner of World War II. He later served during the Korean War and was highly decorated for his service in both wars.

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