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BELLETTIERE v. PHILADELPHIA (06/27/51)

June 27, 1951

BELLETTIERE, APPELLANT,
v.
PHILADELPHIA



Appeals, Nos. 97, 99, 100 and 101, Jan. T., 1951, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1949, No. 2814, in case of Marie Bellettiere, a minor, by her guardian, Felix Bellettiere et al. v. City of Philadelphia et al. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

I. R. Kremer, with him Max E. Cohen, for appellant in No. 97.

Joseph G. Feldman, with him Edward M. Goldsborough, for appellants in Nos. 99, 100 and 101.

Harry Lapensohn, with him James Francis Ryan, Assistant City Solicitors and Frank F. Truscott, City Solicitor, for appellee.

Before Stern, Stearne, Jones, Bell, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Stern

[ 367 Pa. Page 639]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE HORACE STERN

This is another in the ever lengthening line of cases in which we are asked to overrule the granting of a new trial.

In the evening of March 19, 1949 plaintiff Felix Bellettiere was operating his automobile northward on Fifth Street in Philadelphia; in the car with him were his wife, her father and mother, her sister, her brother, and two children. He testified that when he came to the house line of Morris Street he looked to the left for a distance of 250 feet and saw no vehicle coming toward him; when he reached the center of the intersection he noticed for the first time a fire truck of the City of Philadelphia approaching about 100 feet away and traveling at a speed which he estimated at

[ 367 Pa. Page 64055]

to 65 miles an hour. He thereupon attempted to increase his own speed but when his automobile reached the north curb line of Morris Street the front of the truck hit the left center of his car. He said that the truck had not blown a siren nor given any other warning of its approach and he did not see any blinker lights on it until it was "coming into" him. The other occupants of the car testified, in general, that no siren had been blown and that they did not see the fire truck or its flashing red light until immediately before the collision.

For the defendant, the City of Philadelphia, the driver of the truck testified that he was responding to a fire alarm and was proceeding eastwardly on Morris Street at a speed of 20 miles an hour with "siren blowing, bells ringing, revolving lights in working condition." When he arrived at the intersection of Fifth Street he reduced his speed to 10 miles an hour, and, looking to the right, he saw the Bellettiere car approaching from about 60 to 70 feet below Morris Street; he looked to the left and again to the right and then "he was on top of me and that is when we collided." A lieutenant in the Fire Bureau who was seated on the right-hand side of the driver testified that from the time they left the fire house until the collision occurred he continuously sounded the siren and rang the bell. Four other firemen riding on the back of the truck also testified that as they traveled east on Morris Street the siren was blowing, the bell was ringing, and the rotary red light was flashing. A person asleep in his home a half block from the corner of Fifth and Morris Streets testified that he was awakened by the noise ...


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