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COMMONWEALTH v. EVELYN (11/12/57)

November 12, 1957

COMMONWEALTH
v.
EVELYN, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 228, Oct. T., 1957, from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Huntingdon County, Feb. T., 1957, No. 32, in case of Commonwealth v. Harry F. Evelyn. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Richard W. Linton, for appellant.

M. B. DeForrest, District Attorney, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Watkins

[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 515]

OPINION BY WATKINS, J.

This is an appeal from the judgment and sentence of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Huntingdon County, on the ground that the evidence was insufficient to support a verdict of guilty of reckless driving.

The appellant was operating his 1937 Chevrolet sedan on the afternoon of February 19, 1957. He was travelling eastwardly on Moore Street, in the Borough of Huntingdon. The day was clear and the road dry. While driving eastwardly he came into collision with a vehicle driven by Thomas Meloy, also driving eastwardly on Moore Street. This vehicle had pulled out of a parking road into the east bound traffic lane and had moved 8 to 12 feet eastwardly, when sideswiped on the left front by the right front of appellant's vehicle.

The appellant's car then skidded sideways and forward, striking into a parked Packard automobile, facing eastwardly and parked on the South side of Moore Street. The force of the impact drove the Packard up over the curb. The only testimony concerning speed was by the appellant, who said he was driving between 15 to 16 miles per hour. A police officer testified that the appellant had told him, at the time of the investigation of the accident, that he was travelling 20 to 25 miles per hour, and then later changed it to 30 to 35 miles per hour. The lower court found the appellant guilty of reckless driving in violation of Article X, Section 1001 (a) of The Vehicle Code, as amended by the Act of August 24, 1951, P.L. 1368, 75 PS ยง 481.

The Act says, "Reckless driving is unlawful, and, for the purpose of this act, is construed to include the following: (a) Any person who drives any vehicle or street car or trackless trolley omnibus upon a highway carelessly disregarding the rights or safety of others, or in a manner so as to endanger any person or property."

[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 516]

This Court in defining reckless driving under this statute said. "Conduct charging a driver with reckless driving amounting to culpable negligence under the 1951 amendment, therefore, need not be wilful or wanton; to sustain the charge however, there must be evidence of negligent acts, amounting to a careless disregard of the rights or safety of others, the consequences of which could reasonably have been foreseen by the driver of the vehicle. And if the damages caused by the driver are the natural, probable and foreseeable result of his careless disregard of the rights of others in the operation of the vehicle, and not misadventure merely, the driver is culpably negligent and guilty of the charge of reckless driving under the 1951 amendment." Com. v. Forrey, 172 Pa. Superior Ct. 65, 68, 92 A.2d 233 (1952). What is reckless driving depends upon the particular circumstances. Com. v. Klick, 164 Pa. Superior Ct. 449, 65 A.2d 440 (1949).

The evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the appellant was driving in a school zone; that he knew it was a school zone; the school had just let out; that he saw school children on the street immediately before the accident; that following the collision the appellant's vehicle skidded a distance of 50 to 55 feet as indicated by skid marks on the highway, striking into the parked Packard with such force as to drive it over the curb ...


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