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JEAN FRANCES STOKAN v. JAMES TURNBULL (07/14/78)

decided: July 14, 1978.

JEAN FRANCES STOKAN, A MINOR BY HER PARENT AND NATURAL GUARDIAN MICHAEL R. STOKAN, MARYANN STOKAN, A MINOR, BY HER PARENT AND NATURAL GUARDIAN, MICHAEL R. STOKAN AND MICHAEL R. STOKAN AND CATHERINE M. STOKAN, IN THEIR OWN RIGHT
v.
JAMES TURNBULL, APPELLANT, V. AGNES STOKAN



No. 120 March Term, 1977, Appeal from the Order filed November 22, 1976 of the Superior Court at No. 68 April Term, 1976 which Modified the Judgment entered August 13, 1975, of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Civil Division, at No. 905 April Term, 1972

COUNSEL

Raymond H. Conaway, Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Charles Kirshner, Rosenberg, Kirshner & Kaleugher, Pittsburgh, for Agnes Stokan.

David S. Palkovitz, McKeesport, for Jean Frances Stokan, et al.

Walter C. Faderewski, McKeesport, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ.

Author: Manderino

[ 480 Pa. Page 73]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This appeal arises from an action to recover damages for personal injuries and property damage incurred in an automobile accident on June 18, 1971, at the intersection of Routes 30 and 48 in North Versailles Township, Allegheny County. Route 30 is a four lane highway running east and west and Route 48 is an intersecting north-south highway. The intersection is controlled by a traffic light which did not have left turn arrows. At the time of the accident, the signal was green for traffic proceeding east and west on Route 30.

Both cars were on Route 30. The car driven by Agnes Stokan was headed west and the car driven by James Turnbull was headed east. Agnes Stokan was in the process of making a left-hand turn from Route 30 onto Route 48 when her car was struck by the approaching vehicle operated by James Turnbull.

Both cars were damaged and two passengers in the Stokan car, Jean and Maryann Stokan, minor sisters of Agnes Stokan, were injured. Maryann Stokan suffered a severe concussion which rendered her unconscious for ten days and lacerations and contusions of the face, right shoulder, right hip, right hand and left knee. Jean Stokan sustained abrasions of the arms, legs and forehead in addition to cervical pain.

[ 480 Pa. Page 74]

According to the Stokan testimony, their car stopped at the intersection for several seconds with the left-turn signal on before making its left turn. Agnes Stokan, the driver, observed the oncoming Turnbull car some 75 to 100 yards away, but noted that it was in the left lane and signaling a left turn. On that assurance, the Stokan car made its left turn and was struck by the oncoming Turnbull car.

The Turnbull account of the accident is that as their car approached the intersection, it was being driven in the right rather than the left lane and was not signaling for a left turn. Turnbull testified that he was driving 40 to 42 miles an hour. Another eyewitness estimated his speed at 35 miles an hour; the legal limit was 40. Turnbull did not see the Stokan car until he was about 25 feet from the intersection. At that point in time, the Stokan car made its left turn and pulled in front of the ...


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