Five decades of debate over JFK driver Bill Greer’s actions during assassination

Bill Greer from Stewartstown, Co Tyrone driving President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, in the motorcade shortly before Kennedy's assassination.
Bill Greer from Stewartstown, Co Tyrone driving President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, in the motorcade shortly before Kennedy's assassination.
Share this article

A debate has been raging about the actions of driver Bill Greer since the day of the Kennedy assassination 50 years ago.

As the shots rang out across Dealey Plaza, Special Agent Greer could have anticipated the president was the potential target.

Instead, the bemused-looking driver caused the limousine to slow down from an already modest speed by straining to look over his shoulder at a wounded JFK.

Despite further shots being heard, Greer again turned around in time to see the fatal shot strike the president’s head. Only then, and under the barked instruction of the lead agent, did Greer “get out of line” and speed towards Parkland Hospital.

It was widely reported that the president’s wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, was critical of Greer’s sluggish reaction and compared his performance to the likely actions of Maud Shaw, the children’s nanny.

Greer’s son Richard said his father eventually came to terms with what happened.

In an interview with author Vince Palamara, he said: “My father certainly didn’t blame himself. It’s not one of those things, ‘if only I was driving one mile-per-hour faster’. My father had absolutely no survivor’s guilt...he figured that events were kind of out of their control...it was pretty common knowledge that a person riding in an open car was subject to a bullet at any time.”