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Horace Woodring, 77; was driver in Patton's fatal crash

WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The World War II soldier who was driving General George Patton's limousine when the car crashed, causing injuries that killed the four-star general days later, has died.

Horace L. Woodring died Sunday of heart failure. He was 77.

Mr. Woodring, who was a 19-year-old Army private first class when he became Patton's driver, said President Eisenhower didn't blame him for Patton's death.

"Ike told me no way was I responsible," Mr. Woodring said in 1994. "I never question myself about the accident."

Mr. Woodring was taking Patton on a hunting trip in Germany on Dec. 9, 1945, when another vehicle turned in front of the Cadillac limousine. Patton's neck was broken and he died 12 days later. No one else was injured in the crash.

Mr. Woodring was a resident of White Lake Township near Pontiac and a longtime auto broker.

Jinger DeMent, Mr. Woodring's daughter, said her brother was named John Patton Woodring in honor of the general.

Mr. Woodring thought Patton "was one of the most terrific people he had ever met in his life, such a unique individual," she said.

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