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REPORT No. 1767
DON E. HICKS
JUNE 5 (legislative day, May 28), 1940.-Ordered to be printed
Mr. Hughes, from the Committee on Claims, submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 5464)
The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 5464) for the relief of Don E. Hicks, 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. 2230, Seventysixth Congress, third session, which is appended hereto and made a part of this report.
(H. Rept, No. 2230, 76th Cong., 3d sess.)
The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 5464), for the relief of Don E. Hicks, 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 6, strike out the sign and figures “$15,000” and insert in lieu thereof “$3,500"!
Beginning with the word “Provided” in line 11, page 1, strike out the remaining language of the bill and insert in lieu thereof: “: Provided, That no part of the amount appropriated in this Act in excess of 10 per centum thereof shall be paid or delivered to or received by any agent or attorney on account of services rendered in connection with this claim, and the same shall be unlawful, any contract to the contrary notwithstanding. Any person violating the provisions of this Act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined in any sum not exceeding $1,000.”
The purpose of the proposed legislation is to pay to Don E. Hicks, of Heiberger, Ala., the sum of $3,500 in full settlement of all claims against the United States for injuries sustained by him on July 24, 1936, when a truck in which he was riding collided with a truck of the Civilian Conservation Corps on Highway No. 80, about 7 miles west of Forest, Miss.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
After dark on July 24, 1936, Mr. Don E. Hicks was driving a pick-up truck, the property of one A. L. Kemp, in an easterly direction on Highway No. 80, about 7 miles west of Forest, Miss. Mr. Kemp, the owner, was a passenger in the truck at the time the accident occurred. At the same time, a Government truck on official business, and operated in connection with the activities of the War Department, was proceeding in a westerly direction on this same highway. In passing, the vehicles sideswiped, causing Mr. Hicks, the claimant, serious injuries.
The Government truck was driven by one Henry Edwards, a Negro, and at the time there were a number of other Negro enrollees in the truck. It was stated by the Government employees that they were driving at a speed of between 25 and 28 miles per hour and that they were on their proper side of the road. However, from the statements of the sheriff of Scott County, Forest, Miss., and from the statements of other witnesses, it has been definitely established that the Government truck was at least 2 feet over the middle line of the highway, and therefore was on the wrong side of the road at the time of the collision. Furthermore, there are statements in the files of your committee which establish that the Government truck was traveling at an excessive rate of speed and that in addition to this, only one headlight (on the right side of the truck) was in oj ration.
As a result of this accident Mr. Hicks suffered a comminuted fracture of the left humerus, the distal end of the humerus being split and the condyles fractured; and a compound fracture of the olecranon process. Two bone grafts were attempted, but both were unsuccessful and did not result in union of the humerus. The elbow became ankylosed and it is stated by one of his doctors that the arm should be amputated just below the shoulder to relieve him of the severe pain at the site of the ununited fracture. Mr. Hicks has six dependents and is now totally incapacitated for manual labor.
Mr. Hicks has submitted receipted bills comprising the following items, as a portion of the expenses he has had to undergo as a result of his injury: For hospital and medical attention.-
$332. 50 For ambulance service..
40. 00 For 40 trips to hospital..
$772. 50 In addition he has incurred other expenses as follows: Clinical services before operation.
136. 00 Same services after operation -
260.00 Telephone calls, clothing, etc., and medical supplies. 31. 60 4 trips to Forest and Newton, Miss., at $35 each.. 140.00
1, 340. 10 In addition to this, Mr. Hicks was forced to resign his former employment, for which he received compensation in the amount of approximately $200 per month.
The War Department has no objection to the enactment of the proposed legislation, and your committee recommends that the bill do pass in the amount of $3,500 to compensate Mr. Hicks for his losses and severe pain and injuries as a result of this accident.
Appended hereto is the report of the War Department, together with other pertinent evidence.
War DEPARTMENT, Washington, May 9, 1939. Hon. AMBROSE J. KENNEDY, Chairman, Committee on Claims, House of Representatives,
Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. KENNEDY: Careful consideration has been given to the bill H. R. 5464, Seventy-sixth Congress, for the relief of Don E. Hicks, which you transmitted to the War Department under date of April 14, 1939, with request for information and the views of the Department relative thereto.
The purpose of the proposed legislation is to pay to Don E. Hicks, of Heiberger, Ala., the sum of $15,000 in full settlement of all claims against the United States for injuries sustained by him on July 24, 1936, when a truck in which he was riding collided with a truck of the Civilian Conservation Corps on highway No. 80 near Forest, Miss.
The records of the War Department show that on July 24, 1936, after dark, a Government truck on official business and operated in connection with the Civilian Conservation Corps activities of the War Department was proceeding in a westerly direction on highway No. 80 about 7 miles west of Forest, Miss., at a speed of from 25 to 28 miles per hour; that a truck, owned by Mr. A. L. Kemp and operated by Mr. Don E. Hicks with Mr. Kemp as a passenger, was proceeding in the opposite direction at a speed of from 40 to 50 miles per hour; that the Government driver and his passengers testified before the board investigating the claims arising out of this happening, that the Government truck was on its proper side of the road; that Mr. Hicks has testified that his truck was on its proper side of the road; that in passing the vehicles sideswiped, thereby causing the damages herein being considered. It is further established by the evidence of record that the investigating officer who investigated the accident and the sheriff of Scott County, Forest, Miss., examined the site of the accident about 30 or 40 minutes after it occurred and that do decision could be reached by either of them as to the exact position of the vehicles when the collision took place; that on the morning of July 25 the investigating officer again attempted to determine the positions from the skid marks on the pavement, at which time he concluded that the left-hand wheels of the Army truck and the left-hand wheels of the civilian truck were practically following the center line of the roadway. However, there is in the record the sworn testimony of the sheriff and other witnesses obtained by the attorney for Mr. Hicks to the effect that the Army truck was over the middle line of the highway and therefore on the wrong side of the road at the time of the collision.
As a result of this accident Mr. Hicks suffered a comminuted fracture of the left humerus, the distal end of the humerus being split and the condyles fractured, and a compound fracture of the olecranon process.
A claim was presented to the War Department by Mr. Hicks for personal injuries amounting to $58,340.10. In connection with his claim Mr. Hicks submitted the following receipted bills: For hospital and medical attention.
$332. 50 For ambulance service.
40. 00 For 40 trips to hospital...
$772. 50 In addition he has stated that he has incurred other expenses as follows: Clinical services before operation..
$136. 00 The same services after operation.
260.00 Telephone calls, clothing, etc., and medical supplies.-
31, 60 Four trips to Forest, Miss., and Newton, Miss., at $35 each.- 140. 00
1, 340. 10 Upon review by the War Department of the proceedings of the board of officers which investigated this claim it was determined that this claim was one for disapproval for the reason that, regardless of the merits of the case, there was no authority of law available to the War Department for the settlement of claims for personal injuries and expenses incident thereto, growing out of Civilian Conservation Corps activities prior to July 1, 1937.
While the record of evidence in this case is very conflicting as to the exact positions of the two vehicles involved at the time of the collision, there is evidence to support the view that the cause of the collision was the fact that the Government car was traveling on the wrong side of the road.
In view of the above it appears that Mr. Hicks has suffered damages and injuries for which he has not been compensated, and while the War Department is not prepared to pass upon the amount that should be allowed under the circumstances, it will interpose no objection to the enactment of legislation to compensate him for the damages and injuries he has sustained by reason of this unfortunate happening in such amount as the Congress may deem proper to allow. Sincerely yours,
HARRY H. WOODRING, 8. Repts., 76–3, vol. 3
Secretary of War.
AFFIDAVIT OF DON E. HICKS, HEIBERGER, ALA. STATE OF ALABAMA,
Perry County: Before me, the undersigned authority, personally appeared Don E. Hicks, who is known to me, who being duly sworn deposes and says:
"On Friday night, July 24, 1936, about 11 o'clock p. m., I was driving a pick-up truck along United States Highway No. 80, traveling east, at a point about 6 or 7 miles west of Forest, Miss., and at said time and place a truck belonging to the United States Government, attached to Company 1415, Civilian Conservation Corps, in said State. Said Civilian Conservation Corps truck was being driven by a Negro by name of Henry Edwards, a member of said Company 1415, Civilian Conservation Corps. This truck was being driven at a high rate of speed and about 2 feet to the left of the center of the highway in the direction the truck was traveling, This Civilian Conservation Corps truck had only one headlight burning, which light was on the right side of the truck. The Civilian Conservation Corps truck collided with the truck being driven by me, and as a result of the collision I was injured as follows: Two compound fractures of the bones of the upper left arm, between the elbow and shoulder; the left elbow was broken and crushed; left arm cut and lacerated in two or more places. I suffered considerable loss of blood before being carried to the hospital. I have been under the constant treatment of my physicians since the above date of injury, have had three operations, and am still totally disabled to use my arm. It was necessary in two of the operations that bone be taken from my legs, one leg one time and the other leg the second operation, and grafted in my arm. As a result of taking the bone from each of my legs each leg was rendered weak, and I suffer considerable pains in my legs as a result of the operations.
“On the morning following the accident Lt. John R. Fuller, commanding Company 1415 Civilian Conservation Corps in Mississippi, told me at the hospital that the Negro driver of the Civilian Conservation Corps truck, Henry Edwards, had been gone from camp 2 days, and that he did not know the Negro's whereabouts until he was notified of the accident. There was no white officer of the Government with this Civilian Conservation Corps truck at the time the accident occurred. The Negroes riding on the Civilian Conservation Corps truck stated immediately after the accident that they had been to a picture show in town and were going back to the camp. The pick-up truck being driven by me was stopped in about three lengths of the truck, after the wreck, and the truck being driven by the Negro went about 100 feet, crossed the highway and run into an embankment on my side of the highway.
"I base my claim to damages upon the facts as sworn testimony of D. D. Austin, sheriff and tax collector of Scott County, Miss.; and E. E. Lowe, deputy sheriff, and J. C. Sims, a passer-by who saw the wreck. All are disinterested, neither of whom knew me. They all state the wreck was caused by the reckless driving by the Negro of the Civilian Conservation Corps truck. As a result of this reckless driving of the Negro, I was injured as described in affidavits of Drs. Skinner and Howell and Flint. I have suffered untold pains continously, and still unable to earn a living for myself and six dependents, have been unable to operate my business for 2 years, and lost my farm by way of foreclosure, due to the fact I have been unable to operate my business. Have spent between $6,000 and $7,000 for doctors, hospital, and medicine bills, some of which are still unpaid. If I had the money required to have proper bone graftings it is possible my arm would be of some use in the future, but due to my present financial condition I am unable to have this done. I am informed that since the date of my injury Congress has passed the necessary legislation to pay claims the nature of mine, and I should not be penalized because at the time of my injury there was no law whereby such claims could be paid.
Don E. Hicks, Heiberger, Ala. Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 23d day of December 1938. (SEAL)
IRBY POPE, Judge of Probate, Perry County, Ala.
AFFIDAVIT OF DON E. HICKS, HEIBERGER, ALA. STATE OF ALABAMA,
Perry County: Before me, the undersigned authority, personally appeared Don. E. Hicks, who being duly sworn to speak the truth, deposes and says:
“My name is Don E. Hicks, I reside at Heiberger, Ala. I was injured in an automobile wreck on the night of July 24, 1936, I was driving a pick-up truck along United States Highway No. 80, at a point about 6 miles west of Forest, Miss., at which time and place I was run into by a United States Government Civilian Conservation Corps truck attached to Company 1415, located near Forest, Miss. On May 21, 1937, I furnished to Capt. Earl D. Dickey, Thirty-sixth Field Artillery, stationed at Forest, Miss., a statement showing itemized expenses incurred to that time, a total of $1,340.10. This did not include loss of time as result of my injuries. On December 22, 1938, I furnished an additional statement showing that my total loss of expenses to that date, including doctors, hospital, and medicine bills, of between $6,000 and $7,000. This statement also included expenses of transportation to and from hospital. The expenses of transportation was paid by me in cash on date the expenses were incurred, and I, therefore, cannot furnish an itemized statement of these items. I live in an adjoining county from the hospital; it requires a day each trip. I do not own an automobile, and was forced to hire transportation. The statement does not include loss of time from work due to my injuries. The expenses listed as of May 21, 1937, were itemized, and should be on file with the War Department. I do not have copies of these statements, which amounted to $1,340.10."
Don E. Hicks, Heiberger, Ala. Subscribed and sworn to before me this 4th day of April 1939. (SEAL)
IRBY POPE, Judge of Probate, Perry County, Ala.
RE HICKS, DON E. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI,
Scott County: Before me, the undersigned authority, personally appeared the undersigned affiant, who being duly sworn deposes and says: “About 10 o'clock on the night of July 24, 1936, I was stationed at a filling station in Forest, Miss., serving in the capacity of night watchman for Forest, Miss., and I saw two Government Civilian Conservation Corps trucks pass the station, both running very fast, as if racing. The trucks were loaded with Negro Civilian Conservation Corps workers. One of the Civilian Conservation Corps trucks cut through the corner of the filling station and got ahead of the other Civilian Conservation Corps truck; the one cutting through the station had only one headlight burning. I called to the drivers to stop, but they did not even slow up. Shortly after the two Civilian Conservation Corps trucks passed me at the filling station the sheriff of Scott County, Miss., called me to go with him out on United States Highway No. 80 about 6 miles from Forest, to investigate a wreck between a Civilian Conservation Corps truck and a Ford V-8 pick-up truck belonging to A. L. Kemp. The abovenamed Don E. Hicks was driving the Ford truck at the time of the accident, and was severely injured in the wreck. From the markings on the pavement at the point of the wreck, the evidence showed that the Civilian Conservation Corps truck was about 2 feet over the center of the middle line of the highway, on the side the Ford truck was being driven. I saw the two wrecked trucks before either had been moved after the wreck; the Ford had stopped within about 40 feet from the point where the two trucks collided, and the Civilian Conservation Corps truck had gone about 100 feet from this point. I have no interest in any claim resulting from this wreck, am not related to any of the parties, and am making this statement from my own personal knowledge.'
E. E. LOWE. Subscribed and sworn to before me, this the 1st day of December 1936. (SEAL)
I was called to pick up a wrecked Ford V-8 pick-up truck on the night of July 24, 1936, about 6 miles west of Forest, Miss. According to the tire tracks which