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LUNDIN v. HEILMAN (11/24/53)

November 24, 1953

LUNDIN, APPELLANT,
v.
HEILMAN



Appeal, No. 23, March T., 1953, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1949, No. 1405, in case of George Lundin et ux. v. Jean Heilman. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

John E. Evans, Jr., with him Evans, Ivory & Evans, and Maurice L. Kessler, for appellants.

Joseph F. Weis, with him Joseph F. Weis, Jr. and Sherriff, Lindsay, Weis & McGinnis, for appellee.

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

Author: Stearne

[ 375 Pa. Page 316]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE

This trespass action was instituted by plaintiffs, husband and wife, to recover damages for injuries sustained by the wife while riding as a passenger in an automobile driven by the defendant. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant. Plaintiffs appealed contending the court below gave an erroneous

[ 375 Pa. Page 317]

    instruction to the jury when it affirmed one of the defendant's points for charge, viz.: "The speed of the automobile was not the proximate cause of the accident".

The injuries occurred on the morning of December 29, 1948, at about 1:00 a.m. The wife-plaintiff was requested by defendant to accompany her while, in her automobile, she drove another lady home from a bowling club party. The defendant being unfamiliar with the road had the wife-plaintiff accompany her to show her the way. The wife-plaintiff rode on the front seat with defendant, while the other passenger was seated in the rear.

There was a light rain. As the automobile proceeded along the highway known as Buena Vista-Lovedale Hollow Road, in Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County, it went into a skid, traveled two hundred feet sideways down the road toward the left side of the highway, over a little embankment, through a fence, and into a telegraph pole. There the car turned over on its right side.

The evidence shows that the car skidded slightly (or "swayed a little bit") as it proceeded down Eden Park Boulevard. This was at a point approximately three and one-half miles from the place of the accident. After leaving Eden Park Boulevard the defendant had no difficulty in driving. The route led through the Borough of Versailles, over the Boston Bridge, up the Renzie Hill, up and down Dewey Hill and thence on to the Buena Vista-Lovedale Hollow Road. There is a sign posted at the top of Dewey Hill reading "Slippery When Wet". The Lovedale Hollow Road enters from the right at the bottom of Dewey Hill. Just beyond the intersection the road curves to the left. Although defendant had driven this road many times in the daylight she did not recall having driven on it at

[ 375 Pa. Page 318]

    night. This two lane roadway was of asphalt construction and is level at the place the accident occurred. Defendant was driving thirty to thirty-five miles per hour as she approached the intersection, reduced her speed slightly, then after passing the intersection resumed the same speed. After the defendant's automobile had ...


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