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COMMONWEALTH v. MORRIS (03/18/65)

decided: March 18, 1965.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
MORRIS, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Montgomery County, Nov. T., 1963, No. 121, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Max Morris.

COUNSEL

Joseph F. Keener, with him Henderson, Wetherill & O'Hey, for appellant.

George W. Tracy, Assistant District Attorney, with him Richard A. Devlin, Assistant District Attorney, and Richard S. Lowe, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (Rhodes, P. J., absent). Opinion by Wright, J.

Author: Wright

[ 205 Pa. Super. Page 106]

On the late afternoon of October 31, 1963, in the eastbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Montgomery County, 125 feet east of mile post marker 335.5, there was a collision involving motor vehicles operated respectively by Max Morris, John J. Shannon and Francis J. Martinelli. Immediately after the collision Martinelli was taken to a hospital in Norristown where he was pronounced dead on arrival. At No. 121 November Term 1963, in the Court of Quarter Sessions of Montgomery County, the grand jury returned a bill of indictment against Morris charging involuntary

[ 205 Pa. Super. Page 107]

    manslaughter. On April 10, 1964, Morris appeared with counsel before Honorable Robert W. Honeyman, entered a plea of not guilty, and waived his right to jury trial. After the testimony was heard, Morris was adjudged guilty. Motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were refused by the court en banc, and sentence was imposed. This appeal followed. A summary of the testimony adduced at the trial appears in the following excerpt from the opinion below:

"The Commonwealth introduced the testimony of three Pennsylvania State Officers for the purpose of describing the position of the respective vehicles after the accident, and the damage incurred by each. There were slight discrepancies in this testimony, but it was uncontroverted that, after the accident, defendant's Buick was off the traveled portion of the highway into the medial strip, facing across the highway. The damage done to this automobile was limited to the left front door, with a few small marks on the rear thereof. The Shannon Ford was also in the medial strip with its right front in contact with the left of defendant's car. The right rear of the Shannon car was considerably damaged. The entire front of the Martinelli Volkswagen was severely damaged.

"The accident occurred on a bridge at a point where there were no berms to prevent a crossover to the west bound lanes. The weather conditions were adverse. It was misty and the road surface was wet. The accident occurred at approximately 5:05 P.M. at which time it was beginning to get dark.

"John J. Shannon testified that he was operating his Ford automobile in an easterly direction on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when, 150 to 200 feet in front of him, he noticed defendant's Buick parked in the right hand lane of the aforementioned bridge. Shannon then moved to the left lane to pass defendant's parked car, but when approximately 50 feet therefrom,

[ 205 Pa. Super. Page 108]

    the Buick made a fast, darting U-turn in front of his automobile. Shannon stated that defendant's Buick was at a right angle to his Ford, going across the Turnpike, when the vehicles collided. After Shannon collided with the ...


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