Clark v. Weathers

Decision Date21 October 1916
Docket NumberNo. 31149.,31149.
CourtIowa Supreme Court


Appeal from District Court, Woodbury County; W. G. Sears, Judge.

Action for damages resulted in a directed verdict for defendant and judgment thereon. The plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.Shull, Gill, Sammis & Stilwill, of Sioux City, for appellant.

H. B. Walling, of Anthon, and Griffin & Page, of Sioux City, for appellees.


The complaint is that defendants were negligent in not stopping their automobile before colliding with the rear of that of plaintiff. The sole issue is whether the evidence was such that this issue, with that of contributory negligence, should have been submitted to the jury. A cousin of plaintiff was driving a five passenger Ford, with his wife and two daughters in the rear seat and plaintiff with him in the front seat. They had started from their home about a half mile east of Anthon shortly after noon for Rodney, and as they neared the approach to the bridge over the Little Sioux river, the automobile was moving at the rate of 12 to 15 miles per hour. The car was slowed down to about 10 miles an hour, and to 4 to 6 when the driver began to bring it to a standstill. This was done owing to two teams coming from the other end of the bridge and near the east end about 18 inches from the north side. Neither the driver nor plaintiff was aware of defendant's car being in the rear, nor did either give any signal or other warning that the car was about to be stopped. But defendants' automobile (Cadillac) came against the rear end of plaintiff's, causing the injuries complained of. The situation was such that defendants must have seen the car ahead. The driver of plaintiff's car testified:

“I had got stopped probably half a minute before this auto struck. It was not over a minute at the longest * * * I think if I had not had my foot on the brake--I hadn't taken my foot off the brake yet--I think this heavy car would have pushed us into the railing and possibly over the bridge. It pushed and shoved our car straight ahead. * * * I did not use the emergency brake. The car is 11 or 12 feet long. From the time I applied the brake until it stopped it went between 11 and 12 feet. * * * Think I had stopped my car a half minute before the collision; something like that. My best judgment is that the car had come to a complete standstill a good half minute before the collision. I could not measure it in seconds.”

Plaintiff testified:

“By the time the car was stopped he came into us. He hadn't taken his foot off the brake yet. About a minute, as near as I could judge by the time the car came into us--probably a minute or a half a minute. I could not say it was standing still a full minute before we were hit, but nearly so. We came to a standstill. It was past a half minute.”

The testimony of the driver's daughter was substantially the same, but his wife, who sat in the back seat, testified:

That as the car was about to stop, she looked back and saw defendants' car, following at the distance of about 200 feet at a speed of 25 or 30 miles an hour, and supposed it would be stopped. “Q. How long was that before the car was stopped? A. Not a minute. Our car was going to stop when I looked back, just before it stopped. I looked back and saw him coming at quite a rate of speed about 200 feet back, and then in something like a minute he struck our car. I would judge his rate of...

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