Today in History: June 11, auto racing disaster at Le Mans

Jun 10, 2022, 9:00 PM | Updated: 9:14 pm

Today in History

Today is Saturday, June 11, the 162nd day of 2022. There are 203 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 11, 1955, in motor racing’s worst disaster, more than 80 people were killed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France when two of the cars collided and crashed into spectators.

On this date:

In 1509, England’s King Henry VIII married his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

In 1770, Captain James Cook, commander of the British ship Endeavour, “discovered” the Great Barrier Reef off Australia by running onto it.

In 1776, the Continental Congress formed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence calling for freedom from Britain.

In 1919, Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes, becoming horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner.

In 1938, Johnny Vander Meer pitched the first of two consecutive no-hitters as he led the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-0 victory over the Boston Bees. (Four days later, Vander Meer refused to give up a hit to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who lost, 6-0.)

In 1962, three prisoners at Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay staged an escape, leaving the island on a makeshift raft; they were never found or heard from again.

In 1985, Karen Ann Quinlan, the comatose patient whose case prompted a historic right-to-die court decision, died in Morris Plains, New Jersey, at age 31.

In 1987, Margaret Thatcher became the first British prime minister in 160 years to win a third consecutive term of office as her Conservatives held onto a reduced majority in Parliament.

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that people who commit “hate crimes” motivated by bigotry may be sentenced to extra punishment.

In 2001, Timothy McVeigh, 33, was executed by injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.

In 2009, with swine flu reported in more than 70 nations, the World Health Organization declared the first global flu pandemic in 41 years.

In 2020, Louisville, Kentucky, banned the use of “no-knock” warrants and named the new ordinance for Breonna Taylor, who’d been fatally shot by officers who burst into her home. San Francisco’s mayor said city police officers would stop responding to non-criminal activities such as disputes between neighbors and reports about homeless people; they would be replaced on those calls by trained, unarmed professionals.

Ten years ago: Testimony began in the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, accused of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. (Sandusky was later convicted and sentenced to at least 30 years in prison.) Rafael Nadal (rah-fay-ehl nah-DAHL’) won his record seventh French Open title, defeating Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5. The Los Angeles Kings won their first NHL championship, beating the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Five years ago: Supporters of LGBT rights marched and rallied in the nation’s capital and dozens of other U.S. cities, celebrating gains but angry over threats posed by the administration of President Donald Trump. “Dear Evan Hansen,” the heartfelt musical about young outsiders, took the best new musical trophy at the Tony Awards along with five other statuettes. The Stanley Cup returned to Pittsburgh after the Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators 2-0 in Game 6. Rafael Nadal (rah-fay-ehl nah-DAHL’) won his record 10th French Open title by dominating 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 in the final.

One year ago: Group of Seven leaders gathered for a seaside summit in England, bringing pledges to share at least 1 billion coronavirus vaccine shots with struggling countries; half would come from the United States. Novelist Louise Erdrich won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “The Night Watchman”; winners for books also included the late Les Payne and daughter Tamara Payne for their Malcolm X biography “The Dead Are Arising.” Darnella Frazier, the teenager who pulled out her cellphone and began recording when she saw George Floyd being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer, was given a special citation by the Pulitzer Prizes for her video.

Today’s Birthdays: Former U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., is 92. International Motorsports Hall of Famer Jackie Stewart is 83. Singer Joey Dee is 82. Actor Roscoe Orman is 78. Actor Adrienne Barbeau is 77. Rock musician Frank Beard (ZZ Top) is 73. Animal rights activist Ingrid Newkirk is 73. Singer Graham Russell (Air Supply) is 72. Rock singer Donnie Van Zant is 70. Actor Peter Bergman is 69. Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana is 66. Actor Hugh Laurie is 63. TV personality Mehmet Oz, M.D., is 62. Singer Gioia (JOY’-ah) Bruno (Expose) is 59. Rock musician Dan Lavery (Tonic) is 56. Country singer-songwriter Bruce Robison is 56. Actor Clare Carey is 55. Actor Peter Dinklage is 53. Actor Lenny Jacobson is 48. Actor Joshua Jackson is 44. Americana musician Gabe Witcher (Punch Brothers) is 44. U.S. Olympic and WNBA basketball star Diana Taurasi is 40. Actor Shia LaBeouf (SHY’-uh luh-BUF’) is 36.

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Today in History: June 11, auto racing disaster at Le Mans