Wheaton v. Stuck

Decision Date06 September 1949
Docket Number30916.
Citation209 P.2d 377,34 Wn.2d 725
PartiesWHEATON et al. v. STUCK.
CourtWashington Supreme Court

Department 2

Mary Wheaton and G. H. Wheaton, husband and wife brought an action against Kenneth Stuck for damages sustained in automobile collision when defendant allegedly entered highway from private road without stopping or attempting to ascertain whether other vehicles were coming.

The Superior Court, Grays Harbor County, J. M. Phillips, J., gave judgment to the plaintiffs and defendant appeals.

The Supreme Court, Robinson, J., affirmed the judgment on the ground that evidence sustained findings of jury that defendant was negligent and that plaintiffs were not contributorily negligent.

Lester T. Parker, Aberdeen, for appellant.

John E Close, Aberdeen, for respondents.


This action arose out of an automobile collision which took place on a county road in Grays Harbor county, known as the Stilson or Wagner road. At the point where the accident occurred, the Stilson road runs in a north-south direction. A private road comes into it from the west. On July 3, 1947, respondents Mary Wheaton and G. H. Wheaton, were driving their automobile along the Stilson road in a northerly direction and at a speed of from thirty to thirty-five miles an hour. The width of the road was not established with certainty. At the time of the trial, the graveled portion was twenty feet wide, but there was testimony suggesting that, at the time of the accident, it was several feet narrower. In any event, there was only one well-defined lane of travel on the road, which was marked by two ruts or tracks running down its center. The remainder of the road was covered with loose gravel. The Wheaton vehicle, Mrs. Wheaton driving, was following these ruts at the time of the collision.

Appellant Kenneth Stuck, was driving his automobile along the private road. When he reached the intersection, his view south along the Stilson road was blocked by trees. He did not stop his vehicle, but proceeded out into the Stilson road and was turning right when the front end of his automobile collided with the front left side of the Wheaton automobile. Mrs. Wheaton was injured, and the Wheaton automobile was damaged. In the trial court, the action was tried to a jury which returned a verdict for twenty-five hundred dollars in favor of the Wheatons.

Appellant, Stuck, argues that the verdict cannot be sustained because, first, he was not guilty of negligence, and, second, respondent Mary Wheaton was guilty of such contributory negligence as would bar her recovery as a matter of law. In addition, he questions certain of the court's instructions.

Appellant admits that he did not stop Before entering the Stilson road, in violation of Rem.Rev.Stat. Vol. 7A, § 6360-92, which provides:

'It shall be unlawful for the operator of a vehicle to emerge from any alley, driveway, building exit, private way or private property or from off the roadway of any public highway, onto the roadway of any public highway or across a sidewalk or into the sidewalk area extending across any such alley, driveway, building exit, private way or private property without bringing such vehicle to a full stop and yielding the right of way to all pedestrians upon such sidewalk and all vehicles upon such public highway.'

Appellant argues that it would have been futile for him to stop, since the testimony demonstrated that the trees at the corner of the intersection made it impossible to see to the south until he had actually driven out onto the road. This situation, however, did not justify his merely shifting into second and proceeding directly out upon the road; on the contrary, it rendered it incumbent upon him to proceed with more care than usual. As is said in 5 Am.Jur. 62, § 269:

'Where the vision of the driver of an automobile is obstructed for any cause, ordinary care requires him to proceed with more caution than where he has an unobstructed vision. * * *'


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8 cases
  • Sandberg v. Spoelstra
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • June 23, 1955
    ...1930, 155 Wash. 628, 285 P. 667; Weaver v. McClintock-Trunkey Co., 1941, 8 Wash.2d 154, 111 P.2d 570, 114 P.2d 1004; Wheaton v. Stuck, 1949, 34 Wash.2d 725, 209 P.2d 377. The testimony was widely divergent. Plaintiff's driver testified that the defendants' truck did not come into view until......
  • Baumann v. Canton
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Virgin Islands
    • September 27, 1968
    ...Pa. 428, 158 A.2d 777, 779. 6. Railway Express Agency v. Little, 3 Cir. 1931, 50 F.2d 59, 62, 75, A.L.R 963. Cf. Wheaton v. Stuck, 1949, 34 Wash.2d 725, 209 P.2d 377, 379. 7. Warwick v. Blackney, 1935, 272 Mich. 231, 261 N.W. 310, 312. 8. Haynes v. Buckley, 1958, Cal., 331 P.2d 693, 696; Un......
  • Payne v. Vinecore
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • July 10, 1952
    ...was driving his vehicle in a straight line in a northerly direction across the apex of the curve. Respondent also cites Wheaton v. Stuck, 34 Wash.2d 725, 209 P.2d 377, to the effect that, if the accident would have occurred regardless of the fact that the defendant may have been operating h......
  • Kerlik v. Jerke
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • August 4, 1960
    ...Because appellant driver's view was obstructed, it was incumbent upon him to proceed with extraordinary care. In Wheaton v. Stuck, 34 Wash.2d 725, 209 P.2d 377, 379, we approved the statement in 5 Am.Jur. 652, § "Where the vision of the driver of an automobile is obstructed for any cause, o......
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