Va. Stage Lines Inc v. Spencer

CourtSupreme Court of Virginia
Citation184 Va. 870,36 S.E.2d 522
Decision Date14 January 1946

36 S.E.2d 522
184 Va. 870


Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia.

Jan. 14, 1946.

Error to Circuit Court of Henry County; J. T. Clement, Judge.*

Personal injury action by Franklin Monroe Spencer, by his next friend, John Abram Spencer, against Virginia Stage Lines, Incorporated, etc. Judgment for plaintiff, and the defendant brings error.



R. Paul Sanford, of Danville, for plaintiff in error.

W. R. Broaddus, Jr., of Martinsville, and W. M. Mitchell, of Bassett, for defendant in error.


Franklin Monroe Spencer, a three and one-half year old child, while walking near the highway in the town of North Bassett, in Henry county, was run over by a bus of the Virginia Stage Lines, Incorporated, which was being backed off of the highway into an adjacent service station. The injured child has recovered a verdict and judgment against the owner and operator of the bus which are before us for review. For convenience, we shall refer to the parties as they appeared in the court below.

At the scene of the accident the 30-foot State Highway runs approximately north

[36 S.E.2d 523]

and south through the town. The central portion of the roadway is paved to a width of 18 feet, and slopes off on either side to a 6-foot dirt shoulder, beyond which is a shallow drain.

The Riverside Drive Service Station abuts 90.1 feet on the eastern side of the highway, and the front of its main brick building is set back approximately 23 feet from the eastern line of the State right of way. The entire surface from the front of the building across the shallow drain and out to the paved portion of the roadway is covered with concrete. Two gasoline pumps are located in this paved area. At the southern end of the service station is a "washroom" for washing cars, towards which the bus was being backed at the time of the accident.

Immediately north of the property of the service station is Spencer's Cafe, which is set back 11 feet from the State right of way. The main entrance to the cafe is from the dirt shoulder between the building and the paved portion of the highway.

North of the cafe are a number of other business establishments, likewise fronting along the eastern side of the highway. Except for the concrete area in front of the service station, there is no paved sidewalk in front of any of these buildings. The undisputed testimony is that pedestrians, passing along the eastern side of the highway and in front of these buildings, regularly use the paved surface in front of the service station as a sidewalk.

The Virginia Stage Lines, Incorporated, operates a regular bus schedule between Martinsville and Bassett. It makes six trips a day and leases the "washroom" in the Riverside Drive Service Station as its terminal.

On Sunday, October 3, 1943, at approximately 4:40 p. m., a bus from Martinsville arrived at the service station. It was headed north and stopped just south of the cafe. Its left wheels were on the paved portion of the highway and its right wheels and body occupied the entire width of the eastern shoulder. After discharging its passengers the driver of the bus put the motor in reverse gear and backed the bus southwardly along the edge of the highway. Before reaching a point opposite the entrance to the "washroom", he turned the steering wheel so as to direct the rear end of the bus diagonally across the paved area in front of the service station and towards the entrance to the "washroom."


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3 cases
  • Fowler Butane Gas Co. v. Varner
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 21 Mayo 1962
    ...... At least it was a question for the jury.' .         In the case of Virginia Stage Lines v. Spencer, 184 Va. 870, 36 S.E.2d 522, a bus driver backed into a pedestrian, a child, on ......
  • Sandford v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 6 Abril 1962
    ...caused the plaintiff to proceed around it onto the defendant's premises. This ruling followed the holding in Virginia Stage Lines v. Spencer, 1946, 184 Va. 870, 36 S.E.2d 522, wherein a bus was parked in such manner as to force children off the highway and onto a concrete area in front of a......
  • Updike v. Commonwealth
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Virginia
    • 14 Enero 1946

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