State v. Sterrin

Decision Date24 June 1916
Docket NumberNo. 1382.,1382.
Citation98 A. 482
CourtNew Hampshire Supreme Court

Transferred from Superior Court, Hillsborough County; Branch, Judge.

Nicholas Sterrin was convicted of an offense, and took exceptions. Case transferred from the superior court. Exceptions overruled.

Indictment for violating Laws 1911, c. 133, § 20. Trial by jury. Verdict guilty. The evidence for the state tended to prove that upon November 22, 1915, the respondent was operating a motor truck, and shortly before 6 o'clock in the afternoon he had occasion to enter a driveway leading off from Oak street, in the city of Manchester. As he drove the truck across the sidewalk, it struck and injured one Emma L. Sutcliffe, who was rendered immediately unconscious by the collision. The respondent did not give the information specified in the statute to any person, but drove the truck away. When he was later charged with responsibility for the accident, he at first denied it, but finally admitted that it was his machine which injured Mrs. Sutcliffe. At the close of the state's evidence, the defendant moved that he be discharged upon the following grounds: (1) That there was no evidence that the statute had been violated; (2) that the statute was unconstitutional in that it was designed to compel a person to furnish evidence against himself. The motion was denied, and the defendant excepted. The defendant testified that after his truck struck Mrs. Sutcliffe he stopped it and returned to the place where she was lying; that there was no other person in sight, and Mrs. Sutcliffe appeared to be dead; that he then became panic stricken and drove away. At the close of all the evidence the defendant renewed his motion to be discharged upon the grounds above set forth. This motion was denied, and the defendant excepted. He also excepted to the charge as given.

John R. Spring, Co. Sol., of Nashua, for the State. David W. Perkins, of Manchester, for defendant.

PEASLEE, J. The defendant was convicted of violating one of the conditions upon which his license to operate an automobile upon the public highways was granted. He now claims that upon the facts shown it could not be found that there was such violation, because the condition does not apply to one in his situation. The statute in question reads as follows:

"Any person operating a motor vehicle, knowing that injury has been caused to a person, shall forthwith bring his motor vehicle to a stop, return to the scene of the accident, give to any proper person demanding the same his name and address, the number of the driver's license, the registration number of the motor vehicle, and the name and address of each occupant thereof." Laws 1911, c. 133, § 20.

It is argued that because in the present case the person injured was unconscious, and no other person was present, therefore the defendant was at liberty to at once leave the scene of the accident, without waiting for the arrival of any one who might demand the information described in the statute. It is apparent that the Legislature could not have intended to make it easier for the operator of a car to escape detection in case of severe injury like the one here inflicted than where the injury was trifling. The object was to secure information in cases where identification might be difficult if the statute was not observed. Nor it is true that this intent is not fairly expressed by the language used. The statute means that the person causing the injury must return to the place of the accident and there remain for a sufficient time to give "proper persons" a reasonable opportunity to demand of him the information which the statute requires that he should give upon such demand. It is manifest that what conduct will or will not amount to a compliance with this obligation must vary with the varying circumstances of the individual cases. If there could be a case where it was evident that no person who could make the demand was likely to appear, and therefore the operator of the car could be excused for not waiting for such appearance, the situation in this case was not one to warrant...

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23 cases
  • Weaver v. Public Service Commission of Wyoming
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • June 18, 1929
    ...highways for a commercial purpose, and denial of the mere license to do so takes from him no property or property right." In State v. Sterrin, 78 N.H. 220, 98 A. 482, the said: "In each of these cases (cited) it is pointed out that the operation of an automobile upon the public highways is ......
  • Com. v. Long
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Superior Court
    • August 26, 2003
    ...192 (1951); Ule v. State, 208 Ind. 255, 194 N.E. 140 (1935); People v. Thompson, 259 Mich. 109, 242 N.W. 857 (1932); State v. Sterrin, 78 N.H. 220, 98 A. 482 (1916). ¶ 19 Long cites Marchetti v. U.S., 390 U.S. 39, 88 S.Ct. 697, 19 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968), and Grosso v. U.S., 390 U.S. 62, 88 S.Ct......
  • Com. v. Joyce
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • February 6, 1951
    ...have been held not to require self incrimination, citing Ex parte Kneedler, 243 Mo. 632, 147 S.W. 983, 40 L.R.A.,N.S., 622, State v. Sterrin, 78 N.H. 220, 98 A. 482, and People v. Rosenheimer, 209 N.Y. 115, 102 N.E. 530, 46 L.R.A.,N.S., 977. Other cases to the same effect are People v. Dill......
  • Commonwealth v. Prince
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • February 15, 1943
    ...255, 194 N.E. 140, 101 A.L.R. 903; Ex parte Kneedler, 243 Mo. 632, 147 S.W. 983, 40 L.R.A.,N.S., 622 Ann.Cas.1913C, 923; State v. Sterrin, 78 N.H. 220, 98 A. 482;People v. Rosenheimer, 209 N.Y. 115,102 N.E. 560, 46 L.R.A.,N.S., 977, Ann.Cas.1915A, 161. See Commonwealth v. Horsfall, 213 Mass......
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