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Calendar No. 1847

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SENATE

76TH CONGRESS

3d Session

REPORT No. 1761

GERALDINE ASH

JUNE 5 (legislative day, May 28), 1940.—Ordered to be printed

Mr. Brown, from the Committee on Claims, submitted the following

REPORT

[To acoompany H. R. 2901)

The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 2901) conferring jurisdiction upon the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia to hear, determine, and render judgment upon the claim of Geraldine Ash, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with the recommendation that the bill do pass without amendment.

The facts are fully set forth in House Report No. 1858, Seventysixth Congress, third session, which is appended hereto and made a part of this report.

(H. Rept. No. 1858, 76th Cong., 3d sess.)

The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 2901) conferring jurisdiction upon the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia to hear, determine, and render judgment upon the claim of Geraldine Ash, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

The amendments are as follows:
Page 1, line 8, before the word “damages", insert the word "alleged.”

Page 2, line 2, strike out the numeral “18” in the date “January 18, 1938" and insert in lieu thereof “10."

The purpose of the proposed legislation is to confer jurisdiction upont he United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia to hear, determine, and render judgment upon the claim of Geraldine Ash, for damages on account of personal injuries sustained by her in a collision involving the automobile in which she was riding and a truck operated by the Soil Conservation Service, on January 10, 1938, in Athens, Ga., provided that the judgment, if any, shall not exceed $5,000.

At about 6:20 p. m. on January 10, 1938, a truck of the Soil Conservation Service was parked at an angle of about 90° on Broad Street, in Athens, Ga. It was a dark misty night, and it was raining at the time. Broad Street is a city street 57 feet 10 inches in width. It is stated by the Department of Agriculture that there are no parking regulations in force on this street. However, it is stated by the claimant and eyewitnesses to the accident, as well as the author of this bill, that in section 538 of the city code of Athens there is a regulation requiring that automobiles be parked at an angle of 45° from the curb. In any event it is admitted by the Government that their vehicle extended 18 feet 5 inches into the street-which was several feet farther into the lane of traffic than any of the other vehicles parked on Broad Street.

David Patterson, the owner and driver of a 1930 model A Ford four-door sedan, was driving his automobile along Broad Street at a speed of approximately 15 miles per hour, when he was blinded by a combination of the lights of an approaching car and the misty, foggy atmosphere. Mr. Patterson's car collided with the rear of the Government truck and was partially demolished. The glass on the right side of his car was broken and the car was badly bent up.

At the time of the accident Mr. Patterson had as passengers in his car Miss Geraldine Ash, who was riding on the right front seat, and R. M. Ash, and Thelma Strickland, who were riding on the back seat of the private car. Mr. Patterson suffered property damage, and he, Mr. Ash, and Miss Strickland suffered superficial personal injuries, none of which were serious.

However, Miss Geraldine Ash was very seriously injured. The broken glass from the right side of the car flew into her face and she was knocked unconscious. Her face was badly lacerated, and it was necessary for her to have her right eye removed and replaced by a glass eye. In addition to this item of expense and permanent disfigurement, the additional strain placed on her left eye has considerably weakened that eye and it has been necessary for her to cease the employment at which she formerly worked and accept a position paying a much lower salary.

From the foregoing facts it will be noted that Miss Ash has suffered serious damages as a result of this accident, and inasmuch as the Department of Agriculture "will raise no objection to the passage of H. R. 2901 in its present m, in order that a court of law may determine the issue,” it is the recommendation of your committee that the bill do pass.

Appended hereto is the report of the Department of Agriculture, together with other pertinent evidence.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,

Washington, March 9, 1939. Hon. AMBROSE J. KENNEDY,

Chairman, Committee on Claims, House of Representatives. DEAR MR. KENNEDY: In accordance with your request of February 7, 1939, there are forwarded herewith all papers relating to the claim of Geraldine Ash, together with our opinion as to the merits of H. R. 2901.

The files in connection with the facts concerning this case have been thoroughly investigated and disclose the following: On January 10, 1938, at about 6:20 p. m., a truck of the Soil Conservation Service of this Department was parked at an angle on Broad Street in the city of Athens, Ga. It was raining at the time. Broad Street is a city street, 57 feet 10 inches in width. There are no parking regulations in force on this street, and, as a result, some cars are parked parallel to the curb, some perpendicular to the curb, and some at an angle. No one was occupying the Government-owned vehicle and, as mentioned above, it was parked at an angle to the curb and extended out into the street approximately 18 feet 5 inches. It appears that David Patterson, the owner and driver of a 1930 model A Ford four-door sedan, was driving his automobile along Broad Street at a speed of approximately 15 miles an hour when he was blinded by the lights of an oncoming private car. As a result of this glare, Mr. Patterson's car collided with the parked Government vehicle and was partially demolished. Miss Geraldine Ash, who was an occupant of Mr. Patterson's automobile, sustained personal injuries in the accident.

It would appear from the foregoing facts that there may have been a measure of responsibility for the accident on the part of the driver of the car with the glaring lights and the driver of the car in which Miss Ash was a passenger. Be this as it may, this Department will raise no objection to the passage of H. R. 2901 in its present form, in order that a court of law may determine the issue. Sincerely yours,

HARRY L. BROWN, Acting Secretary.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,

SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE,

Athens, Ga., February 4, 1938. Mr. O. D. HALL, Project Manager, Soil Conservation Service,

Athens, Ga. DEAR MR. Hall: Outlined below are my findings as an investigating officer, covering automobile accident which occurred in front of the Soil Conservation Service Warehouse, located at 150 Broad Street in Athens, Ga., on January 10, 1938, at 6:20 p. m., involving a privately owned 1930 Ford, model A, Fordor sedan, owned and driven by David Patterson and a Government-owned G. M. C. truck, model T-23, 2-ton stake body, which was parked against the curb.

The street on which the truck was parked is 57 feet 10 inches wide and paved. It was completely dark at the time of the accident. The Government truck was parked at an angle to the curb and extended into the street approximately 18 feet 5 inches.

No parking regulations are enforced on this street, some cars are parked parallel to the curb, some perpendicular, and some at an angle, however. Policeman Patterson, who investigated the wreck, stated that the Government car was parked at the wrong angle. There is a cotton storage warehouse next door to the S. C. S. warehouse and during the rush season in cotton buying, for weeks at a time this street is used for storing cotton. The way the cotton is stored it extends the width of five bales from the curb, which uses as much space as the Government truck if parked perpendicular to the curb.

There was no damage to the Government-owned truck. The estimated damage to the privately owned 1930 Ford Fordor sedan belonging to David Patterson is $80. The value of car before the accident is estimated $100.

There were no witnesses to the accident, except the occupants of the privately owned car driven by David Patterson. Statements from each occupant is attached and made a part of this report.

The driver of the privately owned automobile has intimated that he would made a claim for damage to his personal automobile, in the event he does, standard form No. 28 and all other pertinent papers will be prepared immediately. Yours very truly,

N. M. PATRICK,
Investigating Officer.

ATHENS, Ga., February 1, 1938. On the afternoon of January 10, 1938, I answered a call about 6:20, of a wreck which occurred on Broad Street between Hull and Lumpkin Street.

On arriving at the wreck I found the Government truck parked at the wrong angle, and the occupants of the other car had already been sent to the general hospital. The driver of the privately owned car did not seem to be hurt.

Glasses on the right side of the privately owned car was broken, and the car crushed in. I did not make a thorough examination of the car.

Mr. Patterson, driver of the privately owned car stated to me he was blinded by the lights of approaching car.

H. B. PATTERSON,

Athens, Ga.

ATHENS, Ga., January 25, 1938. I was going home from work on January 10, 1938, at 6:20 p. m. The weather was cloudy and rainy; it was total dark. I was traveling at the speed of approximately 15 miles per hour, when I met a car. I was between the parked Government truck and the oncoming car. I did not see the truck until I had hit it. The back of my car was still against the Government truck when I stopped. The right side of my car was totally crushed and the Government truck was unhurt.

After the accident I was asked to park the car and the ambulance was called and Miss Ash was sent to the hospital. Both of Miss Ash's shoulders, and right eyelid and ball was cut and bruised.

To the best of my knowledge and belief I would say the Government truck was parked wrong and being parked like it was, it caused the accident. It being out in the street so far and meeting a car and the weather being misty and dark caused me to run into the Government truck. I believe if the truck had been parked right by city ordinance rules I would not have hit the truck.

DAVID PATTERSON. Witness:

Miss RUTH SMITH, Athens, Ga. Witness:

Mrs. WILLIE LEE HACKETT, Athens, Ga.

ATHENS, Ga., January 25, 1938. On the afternoon of January 10, 1938, I was riding in a car owned and driven by David Patterson, when all of a sudden we struck a parked Government truck on Broad Street. The time was 6:20 p. m. when the accident occurred.

The weather was misty and cloudy. I did not see the wreck, as I was too frightened to look, but I felt the glass coming into the car. I do not know just what happened, but someone called the ambulance and it carried us to the hospital. I cannot state just why and what caused the accident.

THELMA STRICKLAND. Witness:

Miss Ruth SMITH, Athens, Ga. Witness:

Mrs. WILLIE LEE HACKETT, Athens, Ga.

ATHENS, Ga., January 25, 1938. On the afternoon of January 10, 1938, I was riding in a Ford owned and driven by David Patterson. At about 6:20 p. m., while traveling east on Broad Street, Mr. Patterson drove in to a parked Government-owned truck. The glass from Mr. Patterson's automobile hit me in the eye.

I do not recollect just how fast we were driving when we met another car, when all of a sudden I felt a jar and I do not know what happened, as I did not see the Government truck.

The weather was rainy and bad. I do not remember what took place after the accident as I was knocked unconscious.

GEARALDINE Ass. Witness:

Miss RUTH SMITH, Athens, Ga. Witness:

Mrs. WILLIE LEE HACKETT, Athens, Ga.

ATHENS, Ga., January 10, 1937. David Patterson, driver, and Geraldine Ash, Rufus Ash, brother and sister, and Thelma Strickland, driving east on Broad Street at about 6:20 p. m. in 1930 Ford, model A, Fordor sedan, between Hull and Lumpkin. Another car _approaching along Broad Street from east. Visibility poor. Drizzling rain. Patterson blinded by lights of approaching car. Struck right rear of 1934 G. M. C. 2-ton stake-body truck. Body of Patterson's car crushed in. Patterson not hurt. Miss Ash taken to general hospital cut through right eye by broken sidedoor glass. Patterson says Government truck was parked at wrong angle. Rufus Ash and Thelma Strickland did not appear to be hurt. Driver of car approaching from east did not stop.

DAVID PATTERSON.
JOSEPH C. ST“NE.
H. B. PATTERSON.

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