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FRANKEL v. CROWLEY

May 23, 1960

Alvin H. FRANKEL, Administrator of the Estate of Joseph Wright, deceased,
v.
Louise A. CROWLEY, Administratrix of the Estate of William Crowley, deceased. MARYLAND CASUALTY COMPANY, as Subrogee to the rights of Walter Collison v. Louise A. CROWLEY, Administratrix of the Estate of William Crowley, deceased and Alvin H. Frankel, Administrator of the Estate of Joseph Wright, deceased. MARYLAND CASUALTY COMPANY, Subrogee to the rights of Paul McDevitt v. Louise A. CROWLEY, Administratrix of the Estate of William Crowley, deceased, and Alvin H. Frankel, Administrator of the Estate of Joseph Wright, deceased. MARYLAND CASUALTY COMPANY, Subrogee to the rights of John Owens v. Louise A. CROWLEY, Administratrix of the Estate of William Crowley, deceased, and Alvin H. Frankel, Administrator of the Estate of Joseph Wright, deceased



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KRAFT

After consideration of the arguments of counsel and a careful review of the testimony of John Owens, we see no reason to modify our earlier findings of fact or conclusions of law. To what was said under 'Discussion' in our adjudication we may add:

 John Owens had been a police officer in the City of Chester since 1949 and was, we think it fair to infer, reasonably familiar, by 1955, with the nature and general purposes of questions asked by investigating officers and by the coroner about a motor vehicle accident.

 Owens testified (p. 3) *fn1" that he recalled the events of August 27, 1955 up to a certain point. Plaintiff's counsel urge that that point was the actual impact of collision. We concluded after hearing and observing this witness, that his absence of recollection included the events which immediately preceded the impact, despite some of his trial testimony to the contrary.

 Owens testified (p. 20) that he was unconscious for approximately ten or twelve days. In reply to the question '* * * after you regained consciousness did the other police people and did the coroner ask you what you knew about the accident, how it happened?', Owens stated (p. 21) 'It's in the coroner's inquest.' He further said (p. 22) that he did testify at the coroner's inquest; that he did not remember whether he testified at the inquest substantially as he testified at this trial with respect to the traffic light.

 The following appears in Owens' cross-examination (p. 23)

 'Q. Do you remember the coroner's question: 'Will you tell us how this occurred? You were hospitalized.'

 'And your answer: 'There is nothing I can say. I was out for about two weeks. I do not remember anything.'

 'A. About the accident, that is correct.

 'Q. And the coroner asking: 'Nothing that you can testify to?' And your answer: 'Nothing.' A. To the accident is correct.'

 We think specious the argument of plaintiffs' counsel that Owens by the foregoing answers, meant only that he remembered nothing after the impact.

 When asked (p. 21) whether the investigating officer talked to him about how the accident happened, Owens replied 'I don't know if he did.' He was then asked 'Do you remember telling him that you don't remember anything about the accident?' His reply was 'That is kind of a complicated one to answer I think. The accident itself would happen and I was gone and that was it. If you want part of the accident, I know a little bit about that.'

 Following his discharge from the hospital Owens was so confused that (p. 62) he did not know the dates or days. In response to the question by his counsel (p. 63) 'Did you recall anything about the accident at all? Did you remember the accident at all?' Owens replied 'Not at that time.'

 Plaintiffs urge that Owens' confusion and conversations after his discharge from the hospital were related only to events which occurred during his period of unconsciousness. Owens' testimony (p. 65) does not support this contention. In answer to the question 'Why did you stay up that late? What was the reason for ...


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