Appeal, No. 159, Jan. T., 1957, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, Jan. T., 1956, No. 143, in case of Renee Gross v. Casper Smith et al. Judgment affirmed.
Samuel D. Frederick, with him Robert B. Doll, and Snyder, Wert, Wilcox, Frederick & Doll, for appellants.
Morris Perkin, with him James D. Christie, and Perkin, Twining & Dower, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Arnold, Jones and Cohen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO
The defendant, Casper Smith, owner and operator of an auto tractor, and the defendant, Max W. Smith, owner of a trailer attached to the auto tractor, charge the plaintiff Renee Gross with contributory negligence in an accident which resulted in her being awarded a verdict of $8,825. The accident occurred at the corner of Eighth Street and Union Street in the City of Allentown at the hour of midnight on April 30, 1955.
When the plaintiff, travelling southwardly on Eighth Street, arrived at the bisecting East-West Union Street, she stopped for a red light and, to the extent that the blanket of darkness relieved by street illumination allowed her vision to penetrate into the intersecting streets, she looked to her left (eastwardly) on Union Street and found it barren of traffic. Her view in this direction was somewhat limited because of a linoleum store building which jutted out from the normal building line. When the traffic light changed to green, she started forward, but before actually committing herself to the intersection she again surveyed the scene, once more taking in the entire periphery of the forward half of her seeing circle, and again met nothing on the radar screen of her vision. As she got
to the middle of the intersection, however, a shadow loomed to her left only a foot away, and, in the instant, the defendants' tractor-trailer crashed into the left side of her car, inflicting serious injuries which are not in issue in this appeal.
The defendants contend that the plaintiff is guilty of contributory negligence as a matter of law because if she had looked to the left she had to see the defendants' vehicle on Union Street. But what the defendants announced with complacent self-assurance is not as easily discernible as they emphasize. Accidents do not ordinarily happen at a leisurely pace or with the retardation of a slow motion picture. Cars move and stop, move again, lights change, there are sweeping glances and suddenly the night air (if it is night, and the day air if it is day) is shaken with the ugly noises of clashing and grinding steel, tin, glass, and often human bone and flesh. And when we as an appellate court endeavor to reconstruct the happening which shall bring us to a decision, we are obliged, where the plaintiff has a verdict, to accept his or her testimony and all the testimony that supports his or her recollection, as fully established as if fate had written the account with a diamond point pen of indestructible finality. Confronted with that unalterable picture of irrevocability we see the plaintiff doing all that the law requires, demands, and expects, if she is to recover damages as the result of the untoward event, out of which she emerged, with a broken pelvis, plus fractured ribs.
The intersection of Eighth and Union Streets is not a geometrically regular square neatly pierced by four mathematically balanced rectangular street approaches. The northeast corner of Union Street is seven feet south of the northwest curbline. To the ...