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SCHOFIELD v. KING. (03/18/57)

March 18, 1957

SCHOFIELD, APPELLANT,
v.
KING.



Appeal, No. 154, Jan. T., 1957, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, March T., 1954, No. 144, in case of Elizabeth E. Schofield, administratrix of estate of Isaac Horton Schofield, deceased v. Alfred T. King et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

S. Walter Foulkrod, Jr., with him J. Franklin Hartzell, for appellant.

Donald B. Smith, with him Smith & Mountenay, for appellees.

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

Author: Bell

[ 388 Pa. Page 133]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

Plaintiff appealed from an Order or Judgment of non-suit. Isaac H. Schofield died as the result of injuries resulting from an apparent collision between a Ford station wagon which he was driving and a truck (consisting of a cab and a metal body) owned by defendant King, which was driven by defendant Gourley. The facts in this case are undisputed. Considering the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, together with every reasonable inference therefrom (Lewis v. Quinn, 376 Pa. 109, 101 A.2d 382; Rush v. Plains Township, 371 Pa. 117, 89 A.2d 200; Davies v. Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company, 370 Pa. 180, 87 A.2d 183), the facts are as follows:

Plaintiff called two witnesses. The testimony on which the plaintiff mainly relies is that of a Pennsylvania State policeman, Alexander Balnis, who investigated the accident shortly after its occurrence at approximately 9:15 on the evening of April 28, 1953. Decedent was driving his Ford station wagon in a northerly direction on Old York Road (route 263) north of the village of Furlong in Bucks County. The highway runs north and south, the paved portion is approximately 19 feet in width and at that time had no white lines

[ 388 Pa. Page 134]

    or other markers. Defendant Gourley was driving his truck in a southerly direction on Old York Road. Arriving at the scene of the accident Officer Balnis observed the decedent's station wagon on the easterly side of the highway (his correct lane) facing in a southwesterly direction. The vehicle was on the paved portion of the highway except for its left rear wheel. The truck, owned by defendant King and operated by defendant Gourley, was on the westerly side of the highway (his correct lane) facing in a southeasterly direction with its cab and chassis on the paved portion of the highway and with its rear wheels on the shoulder. Both automobiles were on their right or proper side of the highway. Both vehicles suffered extensive damage to their left sides and came to rest approximately 40 feet apart. Officer Balnis testified that the debris "was pretty well strewn in that area between the two vehicles". This witness also testified to his observance of a skid mark which extended in an arc for a distance of approximately 13 feet along the eastern edge of the highway leading to the right rear wheel of the decedent's station wagon. The importance of this skid mark will hereinafter appear.

Balnis further testified that Gourley told him he was traveling south on Old York Road at 25 to 35 miles an hour; his lights were in good working condition; that decedent's car, which was traveling at a very fast rate of speed, swerved over onto his, Gourley's side of the road; that he cut his wheels to the right and that it was his impression that the right front wheels of his truck were on the dirt shoulder when the collision took place.

Gourley was called by plaintiff as for cross-examination but was not questioned concerning the accident itself or how it occurred. In the light of ...


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