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RICHARD V. HAEBERLE v. JOHN D. PETERSON AND THOMAS P. PETERSON AND SHIRLEY PETERSON (12/29/78)

decided: December 29, 1978.

RICHARD V. HAEBERLE, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF TRACEY ANN HAEBERLE, DECEASED, APPELLANT,
v.
JOHN D. PETERSON AND THOMAS P. PETERSON AND SHIRLEY PETERSON, HIS WIFE V. RICHARD V. HAEBERLE AND MILDRED HAEBERLE, HIS WIFE



No. 1392 OCTOBER TERM, 1977, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Civil Action - Law, at No. 262 March Term, 1974

COUNSEL

Howard F. Riley, Jr., West Chester, for appellant.

Lawrence E. Wood, West Chester, for appellees, Peterson.

No appearance entered nor brief submitted for appellees, Haeberle, h/w.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Watkins, former President Judge, and Hoffman, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 262 Pa. Super. Page 248]

This is a child dart-out case in which the parents of the deceased child brought suit against the driver and his parents. The defendants joined the parents of the child as

[ 262 Pa. Super. Page 249]

    additional defendants. The suit was dismissed as to the parents of the driver prior to submission of the case to the jury. The jury returned verdicts in favor of the remaining defendants. Appellants' motion for a new trial with respect to the judgment in favor of the driver was denied and they have appealed.

The victim of the accident was a six-year old child, Tracey Ann Haeberle. She was riding her bicycle on Crump Road in Uwchlan Township, Chester County, when struck by an automobile driven by John D. Peterson, the appellee. He testified that when he first saw the child, she was "dead center" in front of his car and only two or three feet away. He testified that he "slammed on" his brakes and brought his car to a stop, but not before striking the child and inflicting injuries which resulted in her death.

The accident occurred at dusk on a stretch of Crump Road made more dangerous at that hour by the fact that the road goes from a relatively open territory into a stretch of roadway where trees and shrubbery crowd in on the road from both sides. The accident occurred just as Peterson's car was emerging from this stretch of wooded roadway into a clearing. His car lights were on.

The child apparently rode her bicycle directly into the path of Peterson's car. There is no evidence as to exactly where she came from. The driver did not see her until she was immediately in front of his car. At the first sight of the child, Peterson testified that he slammed on his brakes and brought his car to a stop. Skid marks for a distance of six feet nine inches, plainly visible, and agreed to be those of his car, resulted as the wheels of the car locked under the impact of the brakes. Nevertheless, the child was hit and thrown a distance of some 49 feet from where the skid marks began. Most of the bicycle was found 73 feet from that point. The child weighed approximately 45 pounds and the bicycle about 15 pounds. There is no evidence as to whether the bicycle skidded, rolled or was ...


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