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ZEVAS v. PONIKTERA (02/02/76)

decided: February 2, 1976.

ZEVAS, APPELLANT,
v.
PONIKTERA



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Oct. T., 1971, No. 323, in case of Mary Zevas v. Walter L. Poniktera.

COUNSEL

Robert H. Holland, Robertson B. Taylor, and Kolb, Holland, Antonelli & Heffner, for appellant.

Jackson M. Sigmon, and Sigmon, Littner & Ross, for appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Cercone, J.

Author: Cercone

[ 238 Pa. Super. Page 376]

On January 18, 1970 automobiles operated by plaintiff and defendant collided at the intersection of Easton Avenue and Stefko Boulevard in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Plaintiff, who was severely injured, filed a complaint in trespass against defendant alleging that defendant was negligent in the operation of his automobile. Trial began on October 7, 1974 and, after plaintiff presented her evidence, defendant made a motion for a compulsory non-suit. On October 8, 1974, the trial court granted defendant's motion and entered a compulsory non-suit against plaintiff. A motion for the removal of the compulsory non-suit, filed by plaintiff, was dismissed by the court en banc and plaintiff now appeals to this court.

The evidence which plaintiff presented at trial was as follows. The accident occurred at six o'clock on the evening of January 18, 1970. It was a clear night and the roads were dry. Plaintiff had stopped at a gas station on

[ 238 Pa. Super. Page 377]

Easton Avenue. She left the station and turned onto Easton Avenue proceeding east toward the intersection of Easton Avenue and Stefko Boulevard. Easton Avenue consists of three eastbound lanes; one for right turns, one for left turns and a middle lane for thru traffic. Plaintiff was in the middle lane. For westbound traffic, Easton Avenue has two lanes; one for left hand turns and one for thru traffic. Plaintiff testified:

"I was traveling toward the direction of Two Guys [a department store], entering the intersection, I was about to enter the intersection of Easton Avenue and Stefko Boulevard and I had the green light. I was in my lane of traffic, and the traffic lane was clear ahead of me. And, I was about to enter it, which is the last thing I remember until I woke up in the hospital."

Plaintiff further specified that prior to impact, the last thing she remembered was that she was four to six feet from the intersection. At that time she saw traffic proceeding in the westbound thru lane but she did not see defendant's car, or any car, in the left turn lane of the westbound lanes.

Police officers who investigated the accident testified that both plaintiff's and defendant's cars, along with debris from the accident, consisting of oil and glass, were located in the eastbound thru lane of Easton Avenue. This is the lane plaintiff was in as she approached the intersection. The officers further testified that the right front of defendant's car was damaged and that the front end of plaintiff's vehicle was "pretty well mashed up." One of the officers testified that his investigation revealed that defendant's vehicle had been traveling west on Easton Avenue prior to the accident and had attempted to make ...


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