Appeal, No. 154, Jan. T., 1950, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, June T., 1946, No. 340, in case of Edythe Marion Vasey Martin v. Walter Hoffman et al. Judgment reversed.
Desmond J. McTighe, with him Duffy, McTighe & McElhone, for defendant, W. W. Hoffman, appellant.
Edward M. Hawes, with him Wright, Mauck, Hawes & Spencer, for defendant, Daniel Pacenta, appellee.
Elmer J. Menges, for plaintiff, appellee.
Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones and Bell, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL
Martin sued Hoffman and Pacenta for injuries caused by the concurrent, joint and united negligence of the above-mentioned defendants. The jury returned a verdict against defendants, William Walter Hoffman and Pacenta; the lower court entered a judgment n.o.v. in favor of Pacenta on the ground that he was not guilty of any negligence; and William Walter Hoffman appealed.
Hoffman's automobile, in which plaintiff was a passenger, was being driven South on Rice's Mill Road at about 11 p.m. It was traveling 35 miles an hour as it approached Church Road, which runs at almost right angles. Hoffman testified he stopped at the "Stop" sign just before entering Church Road, but there was some conflict in the testimony on this point. Church Road runs East and West and has two lanes of traffic. A large electric light hangs over the center of the intersection of these two roads.
Pacenta came from Hoffman's right and was driving on a through highway. He was traveling at 20 to 25 miles an hour. A high hedge and buildings obstruct the intersection and extend along both the Southerly side of Church Road and the Western side of Rice's Mill Road and continue right up to the corner of the intersection. Hoffman claims that when he was in the intersection he was only going between 10 and 15 miles an hour. Neither Hoffman nor Pacenta saw the other car or its headlights until a moment before the collision, at which time the front of Hoffman's car was just about over the intersection. Pacenta's car struck the
Hoffman car on the latter's right rear. The Hoffman car continued across the intersection into a fire plug and the Pacenta car followed it and was stopped, heading in the same general direction.
Pacenta further testified that the first time he saw the Hoffman car was when the front of his own car was about 10 feet West of the center of the intersection; that at that time the Hoffman car had just entered the intersection and the collision occurred almost in a fraction of a second thereafter. Considering the speed of each car and the way the accident occurred, it is difficult to see how this testimony could be accurate. Church Road is about 18 feet to 20 feet wide and Rice's Mill Road about 14 feet to 16 feet wide. Why neither defendant saw the other until a moment before the collision was never satisfactorily explained. One idea was that the overhead electric light prevented each driver ...