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HIGHWAY EXPRESS LINES v. GENERAL BAKING COMPANY (11/11/59)

November 11, 1959

HIGHWAY EXPRESS LINES, INC.
v.
GENERAL BAKING COMPANY, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 376, Oct. T., 1959, from judgment of Municipal Court of Philadelphia County, March T., 1958, No. 2124, in case of Highway Express Lines, Inc. v. General Baking Company. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

W. Glenn George, for appellant.

Frank W. Jenkins, with him Jenkins, Bennett and Jenkins, for appellee.

Before Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., and Hirt, J., absent).

Author: Wright

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 598]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

On December 29, 1955, at about ten o'clock p.m., on Route 422 near Trappe, Pennsylvania, there was a collision between a tractor-trailer of Highway Express Lines, Inc., and a tractor-trailer of General Baking Company. A complaint in trespass was filed by Highway Express Lines, Inc., to which General Baking Company filed an answer with counterclaim. The trial resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff in the sum of $4,456.14, and also for plaintiff as to the counterclaim. General Baking Company filed a motion for a new trial, alleging error in the charge of the trial judge. This motion was dismissed, and judgment was entered on the verdict. General Baking Company has appealed.

The record discloses that the collision occurred some 250 feet east of the intersection of Route 422 by

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 599]

Township Line Road, which intersection is controlled by a trip-light.*fn1 Route 422 at the point of collision is a level three-lane highway 30 feet in width with 4 foot shoulders on either side. The weather was clear but the road surface was icy. Appellant's tractor-trailer, operated by Arthur Early, was proceeding west. Plaintiff's tractor-trailer, operated by Richard B. Schaeffer, was proceeding east. There was unobstructed visibility for at least one-half mile in either direction, and there was no other traffic on Route 422 at the time. The complaint avers that Early was negligent, inter alia, in "(b) causing or permitting the defendant's said tractor and trailer to swerve and skid into the portion of the said highway reserved for vehicles traveling eastwardly, which was occupied by the plaintiff's tractor and trailer".

Schaeffer and Early were the only witnesses at the trial. Schaeffer testified for the plaintiff that, as he approached the intersection, the light was green "and as I got on through, the light, shown on the ice and also in the rear-view mirror, that the light was turning amber, which would have been a red light for the opposite traffic coming towards me ... As I looked down the road there was a tractor and trailer coming up, which I thought he applied his brakes and went out of control and come over on my lane". Schaeffer further testified that he could not go to the right or south side because of an embankment, "so I went to the left, remembering it was a dirt road, trying to get around him". However, appellant's trailer "whipped around and hit the right front of my tractor". Early

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 600]

    testified for appellant as follows: "I was proceeding along there at a normal speed, twenty-five miles an hour, or maybe a little faster, I wouldn't swear to it and I seen this light flip ... From green to red ... about two thousand feet [from the intersection] ... I tapped my brakes lightly to slow down ... The trailer went to the right with me. I pulled it out of that ... By applying the gas ... It come around to the left with me. I pulled it out of that left with the gas again ... It went to the right again. By ...


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