121 S.E. 789 (S.C. 1924), 11450, Steverson v. Orangeburg County

Docket Nº:11450.
Citation:121 S.E. 789, 128 S.C. 335
Opinion Judge:FRASER, J.
Attorney:L. K. Sturkie, of Orangeburg, for appellant. Julian S. Wolfe and J. Leroy Dukes, both of Orangeburg, for respondents.
Case Date:March 14, 1924
Court:Supreme Court of South Carolina

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121 S.E. 789 (S.C. 1924)

128 S.C. 335




No. 11450.

Supreme Court of South Carolina

March 14, 1924

Appeal from Common Pleas Circuit Court of Orangeburg County; I. W. Bowman, Judge.

Separate actions by S. L. Steverson and another against Orangeburg County, consolidated for trial. Judgment for plaintiffs, and defendant appeals. Affirmed.

Cothran, J., dissenting.

L. K. Sturkie, of Orangeburg, for appellant.

Julian S. Wolfe and J. Leroy Dukes, both of Orangeburg, for respondents.


These two cases involved the same questions, and were heard on circuit and in this court together.

In Orangeburg county a public highway ran from Neeces to Springfield. There was a neighborhood road that connected with the public highway. The public highway had a ditch on either side. At the intersection of these two roads a galvanized pipe was put in the ditch and dirt thrown over it. The pipe was defective, and a horse and mule belonging to the plaintiffs were injured. The county was sued and denied liability on the ground that the crossing was made only for the benefit of those who used the neighborhood road. The judgments were for the plaintiffs, and the defendant appealed. All the testimony showed that the animals were injured by the defective piping used to prevent the interruption of the flow of the water in the ditch, constructed and used to drain the public road.

I. The defendant moved for directed verdicts. His honor could not have granted these motions. In the absence of evidence to

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the contrary, we must assume that the county dug its ditches within its right of way. There was abundant evidence that the place of the injury was within the public road. Of course, if the injury had been in the neighborhood road, the county would not [128 S.C. 337] have been liable under the authorities cited by the appellant, but there was no such evidence. The highway was not built solely for the benefit of people living at Neeces and Springfield. The county cannot dig ditches or build fences along its highway and exclude the people living along the way from the use of the highway. There must be crossings, and the county has exclusive control of that portion that is upon the public highway. The traveler coming to a public highway, intending to travel thereon, is using the public highway as a public...

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