Chagnon v. United Elect. Rys. Co., No. 7979.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
Writing for the CourtMOSS, Justice.
Citation200 A. 949
PartiesCHAGNON v. UNITED ELECTRIC RYS. CO.
Docket NumberNo. 7979.
Decision Date30 July 1938
200 A. 949

CHAGNON
v.
UNITED ELECTRIC RYS.
CO.

No. 7979.

Supreme Court of Rhode Island.

July 12, 1938.

July 30, 1938.


200 A. 949

Exceptions from Superior Court, Providence and Bristol Counties; Alberic A. Archambault, Judge.

Action on the case by Felix W. Chagnon against the United Electric Railways Company for injuries sustained when struck by defendant's trolley car. To review nonsuit, plaintiff brings exception.

Exception sustained and case remitted for a new trial.

Walter I. Sundlun and Baker & Spicer, all of Providence, for plaintiff. Clifford Whipple and Earl A. Sweeney, both of Providence, for defendant.

MOSS, Justice.

&gt

This is an action of the case to recover for injuries which were received by the plaintiff in being struck by a trolley car of the defendant, while he was walking across Westminster street in the city of Providence, and which he alleges were caused by the negligent operation of the car. At the close of the evidence for him at a jury trial in the superior court a nonsuit was entered on the motion of the defendant and the case is now before us on one exception only, taken by him to the decision of the trial justice granting this motion.

His own testimony and that of other witnesses showed the following facts: The accident occurred on Friday, December 11, 1936, at about 5:45 p. m. At that time he was about sixty-nine years old, in good health and vigor for a man of that age, and in possession of all his faculties. A few minutes before the accident occurred he walked in a westerly direction along the

200 A. 950

sidewalk on the south side of Westminster street until he reached a point which was just about opposite the middle of Hood street, where it comes into Westminster street from the north, at right angles. Then he proceeded to the curb, stopped there, facing to the north, and looked first to his left and then to his right, preparatory to starting to cross the street to get to a restaurant at the west corner of Westminster and Hood streets, where he planned to have his supper. When he looked to the east, he saw the trolley car which afterwards ran into him and which was being operated and controlled by a servant of the defendant. When the plaintiff then saw it, it was standing at a white pole located on the north sidewalk of Westminster street about 240 feet east of the position of the plaintiff. The car was on the more northerly of the two tracks and was bound in a westerly direction.

Westminster street at and near the scene of the accident was 40 feet wide between curbs. Each of the tracks was 4.72 feet wide between the rails; and the space between the tracks was 4.84 feet. The distance from the southerly or eastbound track to the nearer curb was 12.69 feet and from the northerly track to the north curb was just a trifle more. In the open space between the tracks, a little north of the center line of that space and about two or three feet west of the projection southerly of the westerly line of Hood street, was a sewer cover.

The street was then dark, except as illuminated by the lights from the show windows of stores, which occupied nearly all the space on the north side of the street, and by the street lights, of which one was located, on the north side, about 52 feet east of the sewer cover. There was a drizzling rain and the wind was blowing from the north.

After looking to the west and then to the east, as above stated, the plaintiff waited a few moments until one or two automobiles went by, going east. Then he looked both west and east again, saw the trolley car still stopped at the same place as before and then, the way being clear, he left the curb and started to walk across the street, bearing a little to his left toward the entrance to the restaurant. He walked at his usual speed, which was a rather slow walking speed. He got to the sewer cover and stopped there just momentarily, while he looked to his left and then to his right. He saw the trolley car at Whittaker street, the center of which, according to an engineer's plat in evidence, was just about 105 feet east of the sewer cover.

He then started to cross the rest of the street, still bearing a little to the west, toward the restaurant. As he did so, he looked again to the east and saw the trolley car in front of a cafe, which was at the west corner of Whittaker and Westminster streets. According to his testimony and the plat, the jury could have reasonably estimated that the distance of the front of the car from the plaintiff, as he stepped across the south rail of the track on which the car was coming toward him, was 80 feet. He testified that the car was coming "pretty fast".

As above stated, the distance between the two rails of that track was 4.72 feet; and he testified that he kept on walking across it at his usual walking speed. A nearby witness, who was observing him from the north sidewalk, testified that he increased his speed, as he crossed the track. Just as he was stepping over the north rail, he heard a rushing sound and put up his hand; but the car struck him and knocked him down, without any bell having been sounded or other warning given to him; and the right wheel of the car ran over him.

A witness who was standing...

To continue reading

Request your trial
3 practice notes
  • Pucciarelli v. United Elec. Rys. Co., No. 8062.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • March 19, 1940
    ...R. I., '5 A.2d 232; Dwinell v. Oakley, 61 R. I. 88, 200 A. 445. Also the recent case of Chagnon v. United Electric Rys. Co., 61 R. I. 275, 200 A. 949, where a pedestrian, who was crossing a street, was struck by an electric trolley car approaching from his right, is similar to the instant c......
  • Simpson v. Gautreau, Nos. 7705, 7706.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • April 6, 1939
    ...be operated with reasonable care for his safety. Hemmerle v. Aldrich, 58 R.I. 227, 192 A. 166; Chagnon v. United Electric Rys. Co., R.I., 200 A. 949. We came to the conclusion that this element should be taken into consideration, and that whether or not there was a question for the jury in ......
  • Ball v. Webster, No. 7868.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • May 17, 1940
    ...of the vehicle will use reasonable care on his part to avoid such a collision. Chagnon v. United Electric Rys. Co., 61 R.I. 275, at 280, 200 A. 949, at 952, and cases there Applying that doctrine in this case, we are of the opinion that the plaintiff was not guilty of negligence per se, but......
3 cases
  • Pucciarelli v. United Elec. Rys. Co., No. 8062.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • March 19, 1940
    ...R. I., '5 A.2d 232; Dwinell v. Oakley, 61 R. I. 88, 200 A. 445. Also the recent case of Chagnon v. United Electric Rys. Co., 61 R. I. 275, 200 A. 949, where a pedestrian, who was crossing a street, was struck by an electric trolley car approaching from his right, is similar to the instant c......
  • Simpson v. Gautreau, Nos. 7705, 7706.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • April 6, 1939
    ...be operated with reasonable care for his safety. Hemmerle v. Aldrich, 58 R.I. 227, 192 A. 166; Chagnon v. United Electric Rys. Co., R.I., 200 A. 949. We came to the conclusion that this element should be taken into consideration, and that whether or not there was a question for the jury in ......
  • Ball v. Webster, No. 7868.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • May 17, 1940
    ...of the vehicle will use reasonable care on his part to avoid such a collision. Chagnon v. United Electric Rys. Co., 61 R.I. 275, at 280, 200 A. 949, at 952, and cases there Applying that doctrine in this case, we are of the opinion that the plaintiff was not guilty of negligence per se, but......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT