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JELOSZEWSKI v. SLOAN (11/17/53)

November 17, 1953

JELOSZEWSKI
v.
SLOAN, APPELLANT



Appeals, Nos. 91 and 92, March T., 1953, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Nov. T., 1951, No. 38, in case of John Jeloszewski v. Grant Sloan and Charles A. Swartz. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Wray G. Zelt, Jr., for original defendant, appellant.

Francis H. Patrono, with him McCloskey, Patrono & McCloskey, for additional defendant, appellant.

Paul N. Barna, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Stern

[ 375 Pa. Page 361]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HORACE STERN

This action arose out of an accident involving two collisions which occurred on the highway between Donora and Charleroi, Washington County, on March 14, 1951, at about 8:30 o'clock p.m. The verdict of the jury was in favor of both the original and the additional defendant but the court granted plaintiff's motion for a new trial. From that order each of the defendants now appeals.

The weather at the time and place in question was extremely bad; rain was falling mixed with snow and sleet, making the road slippery and slushy with scattered patches of ice beginning to form. The concrete road, a two-lane highway, was 18 feet in width with a two foot black-top berm on either side. The additional defendant, Charles A. Swartz, was proceeding

[ 375 Pa. Page 362]

    in a southerly direction toward Charleroi; as he ascended a hill be found a number of automobiles stalled on the road ahead of him due to the slippery and icy condition of the highway. He attempted to pass them but in so doing swung too far to the left and partly onto the berm, with the result that, as the front of his car came on a line with the front of the foremost of the stalled cars, his car also became stalled and he was unable to move either forward or backward. He testified that although he could see a distance ahead of him of 400 feet he saw nothing approaching until the oncoming car of Jeloszewski was 250 feet away.

Plaintiff, John Jeloszewski, was driving his automobile in a northerly direction toward Donora. There were three passengers in his car; one, a Mrs. Radabaugh, seated beside him, and the two others in the rear seat. Coming over the crest of the hill and proceeding down-grade, he testified that it was not until he was within about 150 feet that he observed the headlights of the Swartz car in the path ahead of him and those of the foremost of the stalled cars in the other lane. Since the Swartz car and that other car were directly abreast of one another they blocked the entire width of the highway. Jeloszewski started to slow down from a previous speed of about 20 miles an hour and also to pump has brakes, fearing that if he put the brakes on with too steady a pressure his car, stopping suddenly, might skid on the wet surface of the road. Proceeding in this manner he gradually slowed down further to a speed of about 5 miles an hour, but when he came within a few feet of the Swartz car his car slid ...


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