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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 form, 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,
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 privateiy 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., 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 AS: 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 carapproaching 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 ta 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.
GEORGIA, Clarke County.
Personally appeared before the undersigned, Clara E. Smith, an officer duly authorized to administer oaths, Geraldine Ash, who being duly sworn deposes and says:
That on the 10th day of January 1938, about 6:30 p. m., she was riding in an automobile with D. M. Patterson, in an easterly direction along Broad Street in the city of Athens, Ga.; that they were riding on the right-hand side of said street, as required by law, and that on the right-hand side of said street a number of cars were parked at an angle of about 45° to the curb; that it was dark and foggy, and that all at once without any warning to her or to the driver of the car, D. M. Patterson, the car in which they were riding ran into the rear end of a truck, protruding several feet out and beyond other automobiles parked along said street and alongside of said truck; that the impact crashed in the glass window of the side of the car on which she was riding, and that the glass from the door flew into her face, and that she was knocked unconscious, and was carried to the hospital in an ambulance, and later on her right eye had to be extracted on account of the injury she received from said accident.
Affiant further states that the saia D. M. Patterson was driving said car in an orderly manner and was driving at the rate of about 20 to 25 miles per hour. That she did not see said truck as they approached it, and that it was impossible for the driver to see it on account of it being a dark and foggy night.
Affiant states that the truck into which they ran was a truck used by the United States Government for the transporting of employees of the Soil Conservation Service, as she is informed, and that said truck was very much longer than other automobiles parked along said street at the time this accident occurred, as she is also informed.
This affidavit is made for the purpose of being used before the United States Congress as evidence in support of a bill now pending in the Seventy-sixth Congress, same being H. R. 2901, asking tnat permission be given to Miss Geraldine Aso to bring suit against the United States Government for damages on account of injuries received by her by reason of the accident above described.
GEARALDINE Ash. Sworn to and subscribed before me this the 22d day of February 1939. (SEAL)
Clara E. Smith,
Notary Public, Georgia, State at large. (My commission expires February 1941.)
GEORGIA, Clarke County.
Personally appeared before the undersigned, Clara E. Smith, an officer duly authorized to administer oaths, D. M. Patterson, who being duly sworn on oath deposes and says:
That on the 10th day of January 1938, he was driving an automobile along Broad Street in the city of Athens, Ga., in said county, in an easterly direction; that there were in his automobile at that time four passengers, including himself and Miss Geraldine Ash, who was sitting on the front seat with affiant, and R. M. Ash and Thelma Strickland, who were sitting on the rear seat of said automobile; that this was about 6:30 p. m., just after dark, and that it was a rainy, foggy night; that he was driving on the right-hand side of said street as required by an ordinance of the city of Athens, Ga.; and that on the right-hand side of said street there were parked a number of automobiles at a certain angle, about 45°; that there was also parked along with these automobiles a truck much longer than the automobiles, being as affiant is informed about 19 feet and 10 inches long; that said truck instead of being parked at the same angle as the other automobiles was parked from the wrong side of the street, and therefore he was not able to park said truck at the same angle, that is the driver of said truck was not able to park said truck at the same angle as other automobiles on said street, and for this reason, and on account of the length of the truck, it protruded out several feet beyond other automobiles.
Affiant states that he was driving at a rate between 20 and 25 miles per hour as he approached this truck, and he felt sure that he was a sufficient distance from all of the automobiles to prevent any collision, and that he did not see this truck on account of the darkness and fog until he was right on it and he was unable to stop his car; that his car sideswiped the rear end of said truck, breaking in the glass on the front door of his automobile next to where the said Geraldine Ash was sitting; that the glass from the door flew into her face and that she was
knocked temporarily unconscious and that she bled profusely, and was taken from his said automobile to the hospital in an ambulance.
That on account of this collision and the glass flying into her face and right eye, the right eye of the said Geraldine Ash was destroyed and had to be extracted.
Affiant further states that there was nobody in said truck at the time that he came in contact with it, nor were there any lights on said truck, either front or tail lights.
Affiant states that he was driving in an orderly manner; that the accident was unavoidable on his part, and was due solely to the fact that this truck was left standing out farther and beyond other automobiles, and where it could not be seen on a bad or dark night.
Affiant has been informed by agents of the Government, and also states from his own knowledge, that this truck at the time was being used by the United States Government in transporting employees of the United States Soil Conservation Service, and was being so used on the date of the accident, and was parked illegally at this point by an agent of the United States Government.
This affidavit is made for the purpose of being used before the United States Congress as evidence in support of a bill now pending in the Seventy-sixth Congress, same being H. R. 2901, asking that permission be given to Miss Geraldine Ash to bring suit against the United States Government for damages on account of injuries received by her by reason of the accident above described.
D. M. PATTERSON. Sworn to and subscribed before me this the 22nd day of February 1939. (SEAL)
CLARA E. Smith,
Notary Public, Georgia, State at Large. (My commission expires February 1941.)
GEORGIA, Clarke County.
Personally come before the undersigned, Clara E. Smith, a notary public in and for said State and county, and an officer under the laws of this State authorized to administer an oath, R. M. Ash and Thelma Strickland, each of whom being sworn on their oath depose and say:
They make this affidavit for the purpose of its use and submission to a congressional committee that has before it the consideration of a bill now pending in the Seventy-sixth Congress known 's H. R. 2901, that provides that the Government will consent for Miss Geraluine Ash to bring suit for damages, as in said bill fully set forth.
Affiants depose and say that on January 10, 1938, they were occupants in an automobile being driven by D. M. Patterson, and affiants were seated on the rear seat of said car, and Geraldine Ash was seated on the front seat to the right of the driver. The car was traveling in an easterly direction on Broad Street in the city of Athens, Ga., and it was after dark, and it was a dark and rainy night with very poor visibility, and the time was about 6:30 p. m.
The car in which affiants were riding had a collision with the rear end of a Government truck, the same being a truck used by the Soil Conservation Service in and around Clarke County, Ga., and this truck had been negligently parked by its driver, whose name is unknown to affiants, on Broad Street in the city of Athens, Ga., at an improper angle; said truck, according to the city ordinance of the city of Athens, should have been parked at an angle of 45° with the curb, but it was parked more at an angle of 90°, which made the rear of said truck extend further out toward the center of said street than if he had been parked at a 45° angle, and all trucks under the law of Georgia were required to have on the rear end thereof a lamp or light that would throw a light in both directions up and down the street, so that it could be seen at a distance of 100 feet, and that said truck had no rear light at the end of the truck, which extended beyond the rear end of other automobiles parked along said street some 6 or 7 feet, and the rear end of said truck was not visible, it being a dark and bad night, to the driver of the car in which affiants were riding, and it was due to the negligence of the driver of the Government truck in failing to have rear lights lighted on said truck, and because of the improper way in which said truck had been parked, said truck extended so far into the street and created a condition that caused this collision.
Affiants further swear that the car in which they were riding was being driven at a rate of speed not in excess of 25 miles per hour, which is the legal rate as provided by the ordinances of the city of Athens, and that the car was being directed by the driver along Broad Street in a space between the rear of vehicles parked