John D. Stedeford, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
A. H. Rosenberg, Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross and Arnold, JJ.
[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 145]
The jury found for plaintiff in this trespass action for damages to his automobile resulting from a collision with a truck owned by defendant. From the refusal of its motions for judgment n. o. v. and for a new trial defendant has appealed.
The collision occurred about one o'clock a. m. July 30, 1947, at the intersection of Forbes and Van Braam Streets in Pittsburgh. The streets were dry and it was a bright, clear night. Forbes Street runs east and west and Van Braam Street north and south. Plaintiff was operating his automobile in a westerly direction on Forbes Street. He is the pastor of Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church on the North Side of the City. Seated beside him was a young woman, a member of his congregation. She was seated on the right front side of the automobile, which plaintiff testified bore the brunt of the collision, but she was not injured, nor was she present in court to testify for plaintiff. Her absence apparently was explained to the satisfaction of the jury. The truck was traveling in a southerly direction on Van Braam Street, a street only two blocks long, extending from Fifth Avenue on the north, across Forbes Street to the Boulevard of the Allies on the south.
Plaintiff, who was uncorroborated in his version of the happening of the accident, testified: 'Before I came to Van Braam Street I naturally took my foot off the accelerator for safety purposes, as I usually do, looked to the left * * *, saw no vehicles, then looked to my right and still didn't see anything when I started across the street, and just about midway of the street or a little better than half, out of Van Braam Street came this big truck. I tried to turn [to the left] in Van Braam to miss him, but it was impossible.' He didn't look a second time to the right before entering the lane for traffic proceeding south on Van Braam Street. The first he
[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 146]
knew that the truck was approaching the intersection from the right was when he heard it coming. He looked then and saw it 'about ten or fifteen feet' away. He said he was then more than halfway across the intersection. He turned to the left 'as fast as * * * [he] could' and the truck driver turned to the right 'and it was a sort of swiping collision.' The left front of the truck came in contact with the right front of the automobile. Plaintiff said that when he looked to his right he could see all the way to Fifth Avenue, where Van Braam Street begins, but he didn't see the truck. He says he didn't see it because, although the intersection was well lighted, the truck was running without lights. Leastways he didn't see any lights on the truck, either headlights or marking lights; but when asked on direct examination 'If the truck had headlights burning would you have seen them?' the answer was 'Yes.'
If it were not for this testimony, that the truck was being operated without lights, we would unhesitatingly enter judgment for defendant. 'We have pointed out a number of times that it is the duty of the driver of a vehicle approaching a two-way street to look first to his left and then to his right. That is because he first enters the lane in which traffic coming from his left is traveling. If he sees nothing approaching that would be likely to prove a source of danger to him, he may proceed, but as he nears the middle of the street, it is his duty to look to his night again before entering into the traffic lane coming from that direction. [Citing cases.]' Freedman v. Ziccardi, 151 Pa. Super. 159, 162, 30 A.2d 172, 173. In Grande v. Wooleyhan Transport Co., 353 Pa. 535, 46 A.2d 241, the Supreme Court said, 353 Pa. page 539, 46 A.2d page 243, after quoting the above from Freedman v. Ziccardi, supra: 'If another car is approaching in the right lane, the driver should stop unless in the exercise of care and prudence he is reasonably justified in believing he can cross ahead of it without danger of collision. Toyer v. Hilleman,
[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 147320]
Pa. 417, 183 A. 53; Affelgren v. Kinka, 351 Pa. 99, ...