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STOOPS v. MULHORN (11/14/55)

November 14, 1955

STOOPS
v.
MULHORN, APPELLANT.



Appeals, Nos. 117 and 170, March T., 1955, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Armstrong County, Dec. T., 1953, No. 50, in case of E. Frank Stoops v. Clarence Mulhorn and Township of Parks. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

W. Davis Graham, for township, appellant.

Harry A. Heilman, Jr., for individual, appellant.

E. O. Golden, with him John Wirtzman, and Robert E. Ashe, for appellee.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 383 Pa. Page 133]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

The plaintiff in this case, E. Frank Stoops, wisely followed the sage counsel offered by traffic safety committees everywhere, namely, that in walking along a highway one should invariably face the oncoming traffic - but he was hit just the same. The car came up on him from the rear.

On the night of November 28, 1952, Stoops visited a friend in North Vandergrift, whose home bordered on the lift side of Route 66 as one faces Leechburg. He had parked his car at a service station on the right side of the highway (facing Leechburg) several hundred feet away from his friend's home. Thus, after the visit, it became necessary for him to return over this same Route 66 in order to reach the service station. As before stated, he prudently walked along the highway,

[ 383 Pa. Page 134]

    facing traffic - because a pedestrian can more quickly and adroitly avoid a car which he can see in front of him than one which comes up in his wake. Route 66 at this stretch of the road is 24 feet wide.

After travelling some distance in the direction of Leechburg (with North Vandergrift behind him), Stoops readied himself to cross the highway over to the right side where his car awaited him. He stopped and looked in both directions. Two cars were proceeding toward Leechburg on the right side of the highway and they moved by without mishap. Moving in that same direction, Stoops now prepared to move obliquely from the left edge of the road so that he could continue to keep under surveillance all traffic which might approach from Leechburg. He had taken only two short diagonal steps which carried him but three feet away from the left edge of the highway, still facing Leechburg, when a car coming from North Vandergrift struck him in the rear. Since Stoops was yet in the lane accommodating traffic from Leechburg, and this car was headed toward Leechburg, the inevitable conclusion was that the offending car was travelling on the wrong side of the road.

The motorist was Clarence Mulhorn, a policeman for the Township of Parks. The plaintiff sued him and the Township and recovered a verdict against both defendants in the sum of $30,000. The defendants filed motions for judgment n.o.v., ...


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