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COMMONWEALTH v. FARRELL (09/15/66)

decided: September 15, 1966.

COMMONWEALTH, APPELLANT,
v.
FARRELL



Appeal from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Montgomery County, June T., 1965, No. 563, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Leonard Farrell.

COUNSEL

Milton O. Moss, First Assistant District Attorney, with him Richard A. Devlin, Assistant District Attorney, and Richard S. Lowe, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellant.

James S. Kilpatrick, Jr., with him Thomas J. Burke, and Haws and Burke, for appellee.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, and Spaulding, JJ. (Jacobs and Hoffman, JJ., absent). Opinion by Wright, J.

Author: Wright

[ 208 Pa. Super. Page 201]

On June 17, 1965, just before eleven o'clock p.m., at the intersection of DeKalb Pike and Johnson Highway near Norristown Borough, there was a collision involving a tractor-trailer operated by Leonard Farrell and a Falcon sedan operated by Michael Tornetta. One of the passengers in the Falcon sedan, John F. Barnett, Jr., received fatal injuries as a result of the collision.

[ 208 Pa. Super. Page 202]

Farrell was indicted by the Montgomery County Grand Jury on a charge of involuntary manslaughter, Bill No. 1657 of 1965. He entered a plea of not guilty, and the case proceeded to trial before Judge Groshens and a jury. At the conclusion of the Commonwealth's testimony, counsel for Farrell filed a demurrer to the evidence. After extended argument, the trial judge entered an order sustaining the demurrer. This appeal by the Commonwealth followed.

The test to be applied to the validity of a demurrer is whether the evidence produced and inferences reasonably drawn therefrom would support a verdict of guilt: Commonwealth v. Fisher, 189 Pa. Superior Ct. 8, 149 A.2d 670; affirmed 398 Pa. 172, 157 A.2d 214. See also Commonwealth v. McDade, 197 Pa. Superior Ct. 522, 180 A.2d 86. The sole question presented by this appeal therefore is whether the evidence adduced by the Commonwealth was sufficient to have the case submitted to the jury. It is our view that a recital of the factual situation revealed by an examination of the instant record will clearly demonstrate that this question must be answered in the affirmative.

DeKalb Pike, Route 202, runs generally from north to south, and accommodates two-way traffic as far south as Johnson Highway. It then changes to a one-way street, accommodating only northbound traffic, and is prominently so marked. Johnson Highway is a two-way street running generally from west to east. As they approach each other, both DeKalb Pike and Johnson Highway are posted with thirty-five mile speed limit signs. At their intersection Johnson Highway has three traffic lanes, one for traffic proceeding west and two for traffic proceeding east. The middle lane is used by traffic making a left turn to go north on DeKalb Pike. The curb or southern-most lane is used by traffic crossing DeKalb Pike and proceeding east. The intersection is controlled by four traffic

[ 208 Pa. Super. Page 203]

    lights which operate on cycles, twenty-seven seconds green, three seconds amber, and thirty seconds red.

Farrell was employed as a truck driver by Morelli Brothers in Malvern, Pennsylvania. At eight o'clock a.m. on the morning of June 17, 1965, he left Malvern to get a load of coal in Ashley, Pennsylvania. He was operating a Mack diesel tractor sixteen feet in length, pulling a thirty-foot trailer. He arrived in Ashley about two o'clock p.m. and left there about six o'clock p.m. with a load of coal weighing 37,000 pounds. He was preceded by Sherman Hayward, another driver for Morrelli Brothers, operating a similar rig. Their route led south on the Turnpike Extension to the Lansdale Exit, down Route 63 to Route 202, then south on Route 202. Both drivers were thoroughly familiar with the ...


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