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SKOVRAN v. PRITZ. (11/12/56)

November 12, 1956


Appeals, Nos. 151 and 152, March T., 1956, from judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Sept. T., 1954, No. 130, in case of Diana Skovran et al. v. Robert Pritz, a minor. Judgments affirmed. Trespass for personal injuries. Before BANE, J. Verdict for defendant; plaintiffs' motion for new trial refused and judgment entered on the verdict. Plaintiffs appealed.


Robert Palkovitz, with him David S. Palkovitz, and Jack Palkovitz, for appellants.

D. W. MacDonald, Jr., for appellee.

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

Author: Chidsey

[ 386 Pa. Page 426]


In this trespass action brought on behalf of the minor plaintiff and by her parents in their own right to recover damages for personal injuries, there were jury verdicts for the defendant. Plaintiffs' motion for a new trial was denied and judgments entered on the verdicts. These appeals followed.

[ 386 Pa. Page 427]

Route 166 in Fayette County is a two-lane State Highway, 19 feet wide, and extends from the Borough of Masontown in a southerly direction to New Geneva. There is a 7-foot berm on its east side and a 5-foot berm on the west side. About three miles south of Masontown an improved township road leading westwardly to the Village of Martin connects at right angles, but does not extend beyond, Route 166. The accident in question occurred at or near this T-intersection at about 5:30 P.M. on September 4, 1954, a dry, clear day. The plaintiff, Diana Skovran, a minor about 16 1/2 years of age, was struck by an automobile driven by the defendant, Robert Pritz, a minor about 17 years of age, when she was crossing from the west side to the east side of Route 166. The defendant had come from Masontown and was driving southwardly. It was not disputed that the minor plaintiff suffered severe injuries.

Diametrically opposed versions as to how the accident happened were given. The minor plaintiff testified that she was a passenger on a public bus travelling southward on Route 166 from Masontown which turned right into the road leading to Martin and stopped to permit her to alight; that she got off the bus by the right front door, walked around its front and then back along the far or southerly side of the bus to the edge of Route 166; that she then turned and walked in a southerly direction on the westerly side of said route to a No. 166 route sign on the south side of the intersection; that she stopped and put down two heavy shopping bags which she was carrying, looked around for her brother who was to meet her but did not see him; that she then picked up her shopping bags, one in each hand, and while standing on the western berm of Route 166 looked in both directions, saw no vehicles

[ 386 Pa. Page 428]

    approaching and started walking across the road; that just short of the white dividing line in the center of Route 166 she stopped, looked to her right, then to her left, observed no cars coming, and then continued to cross the white line in the center of the road; that she continued to look to her right to observe any cars coming in the northbound lane of traffic and had reached a point approximately 2 feet from the easterly side or edge of the berm when she heard brakes screeching, looked to her left, and saw a car 15 feet away which struck her only a moment later by the right front end. It was not disputed that immediately after the impact the minor plaintiff's unconscious body was found lying partly on the road and partly on the berm on the westerly side of Route 166, quite near the Route 166 sign, the point where she had originally started to cross the road. Her story was corroborated by her brother who stated he saw the accident as he was approaching Route 166 on foot from his home which was near the eastern side of the highway.

Defendant's version of the accident was that he was driving a 4-door Chevrolet sedan in a southerly direction on Route 166, accompanied by a passenger, Edward Penska, who was seated in the front seat of the car to the driver's right; that when he arrived at a point approximately 100 feet north of the T-intersection leading to Martin he observed the bus stopped in the center of the Martin road, right angled to Route 166; that he was driving on his right side of the road, that is the southbound lane, at a speed of approximately 45 miles per hour; that when he was about 40 feet from the standing bus he observed the minor ...

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