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ROADMAN v. BELLONE (11/08/54)

November 8, 1954

ROADMAN
v.
BELLONE, APPELLANT.



Appeals, Nos. 284 and 285, March T., 1954, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, August T., 1952, No. 495, in case of Sherman L. Roadman v. James Bellone, City of Jeannette and West Penn Power Company. Judgment affirmed. Trespass for personal injuries. Before BAUER, J. Compulsory non-suit in favor of defendant West Penn Power Co.; verdict for plaintiff in the sum of $27,000 and against defendants, City of Jeannette and Bellone; latter defendants' motions for new trial and judgment n.o.v. and to take off non-suit refused and judgment entered on verdict. Defendants appealed.

COUNSEL

Fred B. Trescher, with him Paul M. Robinson and Robert Wm. Garland, for appellants.

Avra N. Pershing, Jr., and Robert W. Smith, Jr., with them Henry B. Waltz, Jr., and Smith, Best & Horn, for appellee.

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

Author: Chidsey

[ 379 Pa. Page 485]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY

The plaintiff, Sherman L. Roadman, brought this action in trespass to recover for personal injuries and property damage arising out of a collision between his automobile and a police patrol car owned by the defendant, City of Jeannette, and operated by defendant, James Bellone, a police officer of that city. The court entered a compulsory non-suit as to the third defendant, West Penn Power Company. After trial the jury returned a verdict in plaintiff's favor against the City of Jeannette and Bellone in the sum of $27,000. These two defendants filed motions for judgment non obstante veredicto and for new trial and also a motion to take off the non-suit entered in favor of their co-defendant West Penn Power Company. The plaintiff, satisfied with the outcome, filed no motions. From the judgment entered on the verdict Bellone and the City of Jeannette appeal.

In passing on the defendants' motion for judgment n.o.v. it is too well settled to require the citation of cases that in reviewing the evidence we must consider all the facts and reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom in a light most favorable to plaintiff's cause.

The accident occurred on February 21, 1952, at about 2:30 A.M. The plaintiff was proceeding eastwardly on a 31 foot wide road which runs from the Borough of Irwin, Pennsylvania to the City of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, through the Boroughs of Manor

[ 379 Pa. Page 486]

    and Penn. As he approached the dividing line between the Borough of Penn and the City of Jeannette he was driving between 25 and 35 miles per hour some 500 or 600 feet to the rear of two cars occupied by certain of his friends. The two cars in front of the plaintiff were riding almost abreast and apparently were racing each other. The plaintiff was about to enter the City of Jeannette from the Borough of Penn when he suddenly observed a police car, about 35 feet distant, entering the road upon which he was travelling, from a vacant lot on the north side of the highway. The police car entered the highway from a position in the vacant lot where it was concealed from the view of the plaintiff by a house west of the lot, built close to the road. Plaintiff testified that the police car was being operated without lights and gave no warning of its exit from the lot and entry upon the road. When the patrol car first came into his view, plaintiff immediately sounded his horn, applied his brakes and turned to the right. The police car cut diagonally across the road in the direction of plaintiff's lane of traffic. The two cars collided, whereupon the plaintiff was thrown from his car and landed a short distance south of a utility pole owned and maintained by the defendant, West Penn Power Company. His automobile was forced to its right and off the paved portion of the highway, striking the utility pole. Almost instantaneously an electrical transformer, weighing approximately 900 pounds, fell from the pole onto the plaintiff's car, and then in turn, on the plaintiff.

The defendant Bellone and his companion police officer, on the other hand, testified in effect that as they were driving west along the same road toward the Borough of Penn they noticed two cars approaching in the opposite direction at a high rate of ...


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