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MARTIN ET AL. v. ARNOLD (11/21/50)

November 21, 1950

MARTIN ET AL.
v.
ARNOLD, APPELLANT, ET AL.



Appeals, Nos. 4 and 5, March T., 1950, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Greene County, Sept. T., 1947, Nos. 82 and 83, in cases of Louis H. Martin et al. v. Lloyd R. Arnold et al. and James Franklin Breese, Jr. et al. v. Same. Order reversed; reargument refused December 28, 1950.

COUNSEL

Rufus S. Marriner, with him Montgomery, Thompson & Baily, for appellant.

A. J. Marion and John I. Hook, Jr., with them Smith, Marion & Balaban and Scott & Hook, for appellees.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Chidsey

[ 366 Pa. Page 129]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY

Louis H. Martin, and James Franklin Breese, Jr., instituted these actions in trespass against Lloyd R. Arnold, original defendant, to recover for damages sustained when Arnold collided with a school bus operated by Robert Ely and owned by Russell McKee. Ely and McKee were joined as additional defendants. Arnold appeals from the orders of the court below awarding a new trial to additional defendants, asserting a manifest abuse of discretion.

Lloyd R. Arnold, appellant, between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m., on April 5, 1946, was operating a 1935 Ford V-8 panel truck on State highway route Nos. 18 and 21 near Crouse's School House in Centre Township, Greene County. The day was clear and the concrete highways in excellent condition. Preceding him in the same direction was a school bus operated by Robert Ely and owned by Russell McKee, additional defendants. At a point in the highway where Rush Run Road intersects with the aforementioned highway, the highway curves to the right. The school is on the left. The highway at the point of collision is 18 feet wide.

[ 366 Pa. Page 130]

Arnold testified that he followed the bus at a speed of 20 to 28 miles per hour, but as the bus passed a concrete bridge it slowed down to a speed of approximately 3 to 4 miles per hour, veering to the right as if intending to stop; that he, Arnold, then sounded his horn to pass to the left and increased his speed; that as he came alongside of the bus it suddenly and without any warning, mechanical or manual, turned left in front of him; that he eased further to the left but finally came into contact with the bus immediately in back of the cab; that as a result of the impact he lost control of his truck; and, that it proceeded across the intersection into a group of school children causing injury to the minor plaintiffs. Willard Brownlee who was a passenger in Arnold's truck, corroborated his testimony in detail.

Robert Ely, driver of the school bus, stated that, realizing his mechanical signal device in the rear was not in working condition after he passed the concrete bridge he drove his bus in the center of the highway, straddling the center line, and thus preventing a pass to his left; that he did not give any signal indicating that he was stopping or turning; that he had previously observed Arnold's truck to his rear, but did not look again for 400 feet before the collision; that he did not see it thereafter, nor did he look to determine whether any car was approaching from the rear.

The cases were consolidated for trial before a jury which returned a verdict against Arnold, defendant, and Ely and McKee, additional defendants. Each defendant filed motions for a new trial and for judgment non obstante veredicto. At argument before the court below, Arnold's motions were withdrawn. The court denied additional defendants' motion for ...


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