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BENN v. BROWN (11/13/62)

November 13, 1962

BENN
v.
BROWN, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 237, March T., 1962, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, Dec. T., 1960, No. 289, in case of Clyde F. Benn v. Lucille Brown, trading as Brown's Taxi. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Harold F. Reed, Jr., with him Reed, Ewing, Orr & Reed, for appellant.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Eagen, O'brien and Keim, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 409 Pa. Page 23]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

Clyde F. Benn was a wintertime Samaritan. After a day's labor at the steel mills in Aliquippa he started for his home near Butler in an automobile driven by a fellow-worker. The road was covered, and the air filled, with snow. When they arrived at the crest of a steep ascent in the highway at a point between Rochester

[ 409 Pa. Page 24]

    and Zelienople they could proceed no further because of a zig-zagged accumulation of automobiles, some off the road as a result of the icy and slippery surfaces, and others hopelessly static as a result of the vehicular tangle which no one was making any effort to unravel.

Clyde F. Benn projected himself into the situation to bring order out of chaos. With the help of several other motorists he got two cars, which were off the road and partially in a ditch, back on the road and sent them on their way to Zelienople. Traffic was still tied up, however, and it now became evident that the cork in the bottleneck was a Chevrolet station wagon taxicab, which diagonally straddled the westbound lane of the highway, facing the crest, its right wheel deep into the berm, on the north side of the road. The owner and operator of the car, Mrs. Lucille Brown, was standing on the road, holding in her hand a tire chain which she said had become detached from the right rear wheel, the detachment having occurred while en route from Zelienople.

Benn summoned four or five motorists, whose cars were part of the vehicular melange, and outlined a plan to bring fluidity out of the glacial stagnation. If the cab could be turned around so that it would face downhill, it could then proceed to some nearby service station to have the damaged wheel chain repaired and attached to the wheel which needed it. Assigning men to different positions at the rear and sides of the stranded car, Benn himself took up a position close to the right front fender. Working in unison all of the men lifted, pushed, heaved and pulled the station wagon out of its involuntary anchorage and then turned it counter-clockwise on the highway so that it was now in the eastbound lane, facing the bottom of the hill.

When the complete U-turn had been successfully accomplished, Benn stepped back to the berm on the south side of the highway one foot from the pavement and at

[ 409 Pa. Page 25]

    a point, if a line were drawn from his position into the roadway, four or five feet ...


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