During the first three days of the highway's opening, The Aegis reported there were four accidents, all involving cars hitting deer.
According to Lt. Hugh M. Everline, the first commander of the 35-man expressway police unit, another 63 drivers who ran out of gasoline were assisted by police officers during the early days of the highway.
The first personal injury accident on the Northeastern Expressway occurred before the highway was even open to the motoring public.
An automobile carrying four construction workers crashed into a sand pile in the middle of the roadway on the morning of Oct. 26, 19 days before the official opening. They were transported to Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace for medical care, The Aegis reported.
An estimated 15,000 vehicles traveled on the highway on each of its first three days. At that volume, it was forecast that about 5.64 million vehicles would be using the highway each year.
A week after the expressway opened, it experienced its first personal injury motor vehicle crash.
In the early morning on Nov. 25, 1963, a car traveling near Joppa was hit by a tractor-trailer truck. The driver of the car, Philip Manzie, of Hoboken, N.J. complained of back pain following the accident, according to a account of the accident in The Aegis. Richard Green, of Fernandina Beach, Fla., who was driving the truck, was charged with "changing lanes when unsafe."
Memorial to Kennedy
The assassination of President Kennedy on Nov. 22, just eight days after he dedicated the new expressway, stunned the world. In the communities in Harford and Cecil counties, businesses and other activities shut down for days, as people wept and mourned the death of the young president.
"The new Northeastern Expressway experienced heavy traffic on Sunday as thousands headed toward the national capitol to pay their final respects," The Aegis reported on Nov. 28, 1963.
It was reported that about 25,000 cars drove to Washington, D.C. via the expressway for the president's state funeral.
Days following the assassination, The Aegis reported "since [Kennedy's] death, there have been suggestions to rename the modern road in his honor."
In 1964, the Northeastern Expressway officially was renamed the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway to honor the fallen president.
Coming Nov. 22: JFK and Harford