The opinion of the court was delivered by: FOLLMER
This is an action to recover damages for personal injuries sustained by plaintiffs as the result of an automobile accident which occurred in the Province of Seine et Oise, France, on April 23, 1960. The three plaintiffs, Dobson, Carlock and Padley, and defendant, Myers, were members of the Air Force of the United States of America and were all stationed at Evreux Fauville Air Base, France, approximately sixty miles northwest of Paris.
Due to lack of service, the complaint as to the defendant, Compagnie d'Assurances "La Fortune", S.A., was dismissed June 2, 1964.
On June 2, 1964, by Order of Court counsel for defendant, Donald E. Myers, were permitted to withdraw their appearance.
Although defendant, Myers, was served with copies of all pleadings, he refused to co-operate or meet with counsel originally retained, resulting in their withdrawal as aforesaid. He never filed an answer to the complaint. The case was set down for trial and defendant was accordingly notified of the trial date. Defendant did not appear at the appointed time. Accordingly, the trial of the case proceeded before the Court and without a jury.
From the pleadings and the testimony, the Court makes the following:
1. The plaintiff, William P. Dobson, is a resident of the State of Illinois, his residence being 5724 Plymouth Court, Downers Grove, Illinois.
2. The plaintiff, Glen G. Carlock, is a resident of the State of Louisiana, his residence being 6252 Alexander Avenue, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
3. The plaintiff, Kenneth J. Padley, is a resident of the State of Ohio, his residence being 6610 South Lear Nagle Road, North Ridgeville, Ohio.
4. The defendant, Donald E. Myers, is a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, his residence being Hampton, Adams County, Pennsylvania.
6. On April 23, 1960, the defendant, Donald E. Myers, was the owner of the 1953 model Studebaker 4-door sedan automobile bearing auto registration No. 1 CF 38044.
7. On April 23, 1960, at about 6:00 o'clock A.M., the defendant, Donald E. Myers, was operating his automobile, described in the preceding paragraph, in a westerly direction from the City of Paris, France, destined for Evreux Fauville Air Base approximately 60 miles west of Paris, on the highway known as the Autoroute.
8. At the time the defendant, Donald E. Myers, was operating said vehicle, the following persons were guest passengers therein: one Bill Longo, in the front seat next to the operator, defendant Myers; plaintiff Kenneth J. Padley, in the front seat between Longo and the right front door; plaintiff William F. Dobson, in the rear seat adjacent to the right rear door, and plaintiff Glen G. Carlock, in the rear seat to the left of Dobson.
9. At the aforesaid time, the defendant, Donald E. Myers, en route to Evreux Fauville Air Base, was driving his motor vehicle at an excessive rate of speed and in a reckless and careless manner. This was so evident to his passengers, the plaintiffs in this action, that they remonstrated with him and importuned him to stop and permit the aforesaid Bill Longo to operate the vehicle, which the defendant Myers refused to do.
10. At a point about 10 miles west of Paris, France, as the vehicle, proceeding at a speed of approximately 110 miles per hour on the Autoroute, approached the juncture of another highway identified as N-13, which leads to Evreux Fauville Air Base, the defendant Myers lost control of the automobile, striking the curb of the Autoroute which caused the vehicle to cross the highway known as N-13, jump the curb on that road and to come in collision with a tree which was broken in three places by the impact.
11. As a result of the events described in the preceding paragraph, the plaintiffs Dobson and Carlock were thrown out of the vehicle, and plaintiff Padley was pinned by the wreckage in the front seat of the vehicle and had to be pried out. All three plaintiffs ...