Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Harold R. Williams, Deceased, Ann A. St. Clair, Admx. v. Kovalchick Salvage Co., No. A-82698.
Charles G. Brown, Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C., for petitioner.
Francis J. Carey, for respondent, Ann A. St. Clair, Administratrix of the Estate of Harold R. Williams, deceased.
Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 563]
Kovalchick Salvage Company (Petitioner) appeals an order of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision to award death benefits to Claimants, the dependents of Harold R. Williams. We affirm.
Mr. Williams was employed as a salvage foreman by Petitioner working with a crew that traveled to various
[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 564]
job sites away from Petitioner's Indiana, Pennsylvania place of business. In late February and early March, 1975, Williams' crew was employed at a site in Saxton, Pennsylvania. The crew worked in Saxton during the week and on Friday traveled back to Indiana to pick up their paychecks and spend the weekends at home. On Monday morning, the crew traveled back to Saxton for the week's work. All traveling was done in Petitioner's company car with Williams and certain other employees sharing the driving.
On Friday, March 7, 1975, the crew returned to Indiana, stopping along the way, as found by the referee, to have a few drinks. After picking up their paychecks, Williams drove the crew members home. On the way to his own home, still driving the company car, Williams was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle. Both drivers were killed instantly. According to a coroner's report, Williams had a .26% blood alcohol content at the time of the accident.
Williams' dependents filed a Fatal Claim Petition and benefits were awarded, the referee finding that Williams was killed in the course of employment. On appeal to the Board, the matter was remanded to the referee because the findings of fact on whether Williams' accident did occur in the course of employment were inadequate for purposes of review.
On remand, another referee awarded benefits, making almost identical findings of fact and conclusions of law as the previous referee. The Board remanded the case once again because the referee did not consider testimony of Petitioner's witness, Dr. Charles L. Winek, regarding the alcohol content of Williams' blood and the possible effect on his ability to drive safely.
A new referee's decision specifically noted that Dr. Winek's deposition testimony had been considered. The decision, ...