People v. McIntosh

Decision Date28 April 1970
Docket NumberNo. 2,Docket No. 7112,2
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Roderic C. McINTOSH, Defendant-Appellant
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US

John H. Cresswell, Utica, for defendant-appellant.

Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Robert A. Derengoski, Sol. Gen., George N. Parris, Pros. Atty., Thaddeus F. Hamera, Chief Appellate Lawyer, Stephen F. Osinski, Asst. Pros. Atty., for plaintiff-appellee.

Before J. H. GILLIS, P.J., and DANHOF and O'HARA, * JJ.

J. H. GILLIS, Presiding Judge.

On February 18, 1968, defendant Roderic C. McIntosh allegedly ran a stop sign at the intersection of Maeder street and Shelby road in Macomb county, Michigan. Maeder street runs east-west and its eastern terminus intersects Shelby road. Shelby runs north-south. The stop sign is on Maeder, approximately 55 feet west of the intersection. There is neither a crosswalk nor a stop line at the intersection.

Defendant was issued a traffic ticket and charged with violating M.C.L.A. § 257.649(f) (Stat.Ann.1968, Rev. § 9.2349(f)), which provides:

'Except when directed to proceed by a police officer, The driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no crosswalk shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, or if none, then At the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway.' (Emphasis supplied.)

Defendant was tried before the Macomb county circuit court, sitting without a jury, and convicted as charged. On appeal, the sole issue is whether defendant complied with the statute. Specifically, defendant contends that his conduct on the morning of February 18, 1968, constituted compliance with the above-quoted provision of the Michigan Vehicle Code.

At the conclusion of trial, the trial court found the following facts from the testimony presented. The court accepted as true the defendant's testimony that he 'stopped' 5 feet from the stop sign. 1 In that position, the defendant's view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway, Shelby road, was unobstructed but he was not at the point Nearest the intersection where his view was unobstructed. Thereafter, defendant proceeded east on Maeder and, without stopping, turned right at the intersection. The trial court also found as a fact that '(defendant) did not stop at a point nearest the intersecting highway where he could see.' (Emphasis supplied.) The court concluded:

'Now, where is he required to stop? Well, the statute is very clear on that * * *. The defendant here, Even though the stop sign is 55 feet back, was required to stop where the statute says * * * The driver is required by the motor vehicle code to stop at that particular point nearest the road and that's where he had to stop.' (Emphasis supplied.)

The substance of defendant's argument on appeal is that the trial court erroneously interpreted the statute.

We think the trial court correctly rejected defendant's contention that the statute required defendant to stop at the stop sign itself. Such a construction presupposes that the sign in question was placed by engineers at the point nearest the intersection where the driver has a view of traffic approaching on the intersecting highway. That is obviously not so. Compare, Cresse v. Parsekian (1963), 81 N.J.Super. 536, 544, 196 A.2d 256, 260. Furthermore, photographs introduced at trial reveal that the stop sign on Maeder street was not placed at the point nearest the intersection where a driver has a view of Shelby traffic.

Where, as here, a stop sign is placed a considerable distance from the stop intersection, it is generally recognized that the sign serves only to notify motorists of the approaching highway intersection. It does not signify the exact spot at which vehicles are required to stop. See 7 Am.Jur.2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 196, p. 747; Hamilton v. Cadwell (1938), 195 Wash. 683, 81 P.2d 815; People v. Ubertini (1943), 182 Misc. 634, 51 N.Y.S.2d 62; Carpenter v. Snipes (1950), 203 Okl. 534, 223 P.2d 761; Clifton v. Turner (1962), 257 N.C. 92, 125 S.E.2d 339. Placement of the sign some distance from the intersection of a servient and dominant highway gives the motorist ample time to slow down and stop before entering the intersection. It provides a necessary warning of impending danger.

Defendant also suggests that he substantially complied with the statute. Defendant concedes that he failed to stop at the point Nearest the intersection where his view was unobstructed. We are told, neverthless, that distance is not controlling. We quote from defendant's brief.

'It is not the distance from the intersection but whether or not the view was unobstructed. If the point at which the operator stops is near the intersection and the view is unobstructed and will remain unobstructed, then the operator has complied with the statute.'

In support of his construction of the statute, defendant cites Anderson v. Detroit Motor Bus Co. (1927), 239 Mich. 390, 214 N.W. 172. In that case, a motorist stopped his car 40 feet from an intersection at a point adjacent to the stop sign. He then proceeded to enter the intersection without stopping again. Whether the motorist's failure to stop at the intersection violated an ordinance of Grosse Pointe Park was an issue presented. The ordinance made it unlawful 'for any driver or operator of any vehicle to enter or cross any through traffic street without first having come to a complete stop before entering or crossing said street.' The Court noted, 'we are inclined to the belief that when one stops his car opposite the traffic sign he has substantially complied with the ordinance.' 239 Mich. at 393, 214 N.W. at 173.

We think Anderson is distinguishable. Nothing in the orainance designated where, in relation to the thgough traffic street, the stop was to be made. It required only that the driver stop. Here, however, the statute in question is quite explicit. It fixes the very stop at which a driver must stop. And,

'Where an applicable statute or ordinance designates specifically where the stop should be made, it is, of course controlling.' 3 A.L.R.3d 180, 215.

Accord, 60A C.J.S. Motor Vehicles § 359 (1)c, p. 533; 7 Am.Jur.2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, § 196, p. 747. In this case, defendant was not only obliged to stop, he was also required to stop 'at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway.' M.C.L.A. § 257.649(f) (Stat.Ann.1968, Rev. § 9.2349(f)). This is not to say that there exists a single point at which a driver approaching a stop intersection must stop....

To continue reading

Request your trial
2 cases
  • People v. Hester
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • June 23, 1970
    ...v. Phillips (1898), 118 Mich. 699, 77 N.W. 245; and see, People v. Goolsby (1938), 284 Mich. 375, 279 N.W. 867; People v. McIntosh (1970), 23 Mich.App. 412, 178 N.W.2d 809. Nor are we persuaded that Standard's rights under its agency contract with defendant Hester are of any legal significa......
  • People v. Jones
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • March 16, 1984
    ... ... 240, 246, 96 L.Ed. 288, 297 (1952) ...         See also, 1 Wharton Criminal Law (14th ed), Sec. 23, 102 ...         In this case, driving through a stop sign is a strict liability offense. See People v. Thompson, 259 Mich. 109, 120, 242 N.W. 857 (1932); People v. McIntosh, 23 Mich.App ... 412, 178 N.W.2d 809 (1970). For this reason, defendant's inability to stop at the stop sign was irrelevant. The facts here do not present a situation in which there was no actus reus (e.g., a vehicle behind the motorist's car failed to stop and pushed him past the stop sign ... ...

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