« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
The driver of the Government truck, a Pennsylvania National Guard man, had been ordered out by the Federal Government for training, at the time of the accident and was being paid by the Federal Government. The truck actually belonged to the Federal Government, but the driver had not taken the oath which would have made him a soldier of the United States Army, so that, technically, he was in the service of the State of Pennsylvania and using a United States Army truck.
The War Department, in report to the committee dated July 25, 1942, states that this truck was a part of a convoy returning to Indiantown Gap, Pa., after moving Troop E, One Hundred and Fourth Cavalry, Pennsylvania National Guard, to Chambersburg, Pa. This movement was in connection with an author. ized period of field training under the provisions of section 94, National Defense Act. The War Department also states: "While it would appear that there was no fault of negligence on the part of the driver of the civilian car and that there was negligence on the part of the driver of the National Guard truck, the War Department does not recommend enactment of the proposed relief legislation for the reason that the Federal Government was in no way responsible for the accident."
Your committee must disagree with the War Department on this point. This organization had been authorized by the War Department to move from one place to another, with the use of War Department equipment, and this ordered movement was the procuring cause of the accident, and, in the opinion of your committee does constitute responsibility on the part of the Federal Government.
In September before this accident occurred, the President had proclaimed a limited national emergency, and this unit of guardsmen was called back for special training, as it had already had its regular period of training before the proclamation of the emergency.
Private Ralph Mitzel, Company B, One Hundred and Third Quartermaster Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard, was convicted in the Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace of Cumberland County, and was sentenced to jail in conDection with this accident.
Your committee is strongly of the opinion that the United States Government is responsible for this accident, as stated, due to the fact that this unit of the National Guard of Pennsylvania was on a trip duly authorized by the War Department, was using a War Department truck, and was being paid by the Federal Government. Accordingly, your committee recommend favorable consideration of the proposed legislation, as amended.
Appended hereto is the report of the War Department together with other pertinent evidence:
Washington, July 25, 1942. The Honorable Dan R. McGEHEE, Chairman, Committee on Claims,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. McGEHEE: Reference is made to your letter of June 9, 1942, requesting a report in connection with H. R. 6335, Seventy-seventh Congress, second session, a bill for the relief of the estates of Robert C. Meals and Mrs. Bessie Mae Morgret, Mrs. Margaret J. Meals, Donald Meals (a minor), and Betty Wrightstone (a minor).
The report of this accident which was received by the War Department shows that it occurred at 7:30 p. m., November 29, 1939, on highway No. 641 about 24 miles east of Carlisle, Pa. The vehicles involved were a 1%-ton cargo truck assigned to the National Guard of Pennsylvania, and a passenger sedan operated by Robert C. Meals, of Shiremanstown, Pa.
The National Guard truck was driven by Private First Class Ralph Mitzel Company B, One Hundred and Third Quartermaster Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard, and was part of a convoy returning to Indiantown Gap, Pa., after moving Troop E, One Hundred and Fourth Cavalry, Pennsylvania National Guard, from Indiantown Gap to Chambersburg, Pa. This movement was in connection with an authorized period of field training under the provisions of section 94, National Defense Act.
The civilian vehicle was driven by Robert C. Meals, of Shiremanstown, Pa. Accompanying him as passengers were Mrs. Margaret J. Meals, Donald Meals, Mrs. Bessie Mae Morgret, and Betty Jane Wrightstone, all of Shiremanstown. Pa.
H. Repts., 79-1, vol. 1-23
Botween Chambersburg and Shippensburg the truck driven by Private Mitzel and another driven by Corporal Crimmins dropped out of the convoy to repair a broken gasoline line on the Crimmins truck. The damage was repaired and the two trucks proceeded on their journey. Some distance out of Carlisle, Pa., the trucks became separated in the traffic. Corporal Crimmins, upon finding that Mitzel was not following, waited about 15 minutes and then drove back to where he discovered the accident. The accident occurred on a straight piece of road on the western slope of a sharp rise. The passenger car was proceeding west at a rate of speed estimated by the Pennsylvania motor police at about 40 miles per hour. As the passenger automobilo approached the crest of the rise, the driver evidently saw the glare of the truck headlights on the left, or wrong side of the highway, and applied his brakes, as evidenced by skid marks of about 78 feet. The marks indicated that he pulled far over to the right, and then sharply to the left tofwhere the impact occurred. There was no evidence of any skid marks having been made by the National Guard truck. After the impact, both vehicles were on the north side of the white line dividing the highway, except for the right hind wheel of the National Guard truck. It would appear that Private Mitzel was approaching the crest of the rise with a portion, if not the greater portion of his truck on the wrong side of the road. Private Mitzel stated that after leaving Carlisle he had no recollection of what happened.
As a result of the accident Robert C. Meals and Bessio Mae Morgret were killed; Margret J. Meals suffered fractiired jaws and severe lacerations; Donald Meals suffered a fractured skull; Bett Jane Wrightstone suffered fractures of left log and right arm; Private Mitzel suffered concussion and shock. Both vehicles were completely wrecked.
Pvt. Ralph Mitzel was convicted in the Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace of Cumberland County of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 6 months in jail in connection with this accident.
The duty upon which Pvt. Ralph Mitzel was engaged at the time of the accident was in connection with field training of a unit of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Neither Pvt. Mitzel nor the unit of the Pennsylvania National Guard concerned was in the active military service of the United States at the time of the accident. There would appear to be no liability on the part of the Federal Government.
While it would appear that there was no fault or negligence on the part of tho driver of the civilian car and that there was negligence on the part of the driver of the National Guard truck, the War Department does not recommend enactment of the proposed relief legislation for the reason that the Federal Government was in no way responsible for the accident.
The Bureau of the Budget advises that there is no objection to the submission of this unfavorable report. Sincerely yours,
HENRY L. STIMSON,
Secretary of War.
Estate of Robert C. Meals versus Ralph Mitzel (Pennsylvania National Guard)—
injuries and damages May 21, 1941 Expenses: Carlisle Hospital...
$5.00 Cemetery lot..
50.00 8. Harper Myers, undertaker...
450. 00 L. A. Bender, letters of administration.
5. 00 Tombstone..
Loss of car:
1934 Terraplane automobile purchased 1 year before the acci
dent, totally demolished.... Towing expenses.
232. 50 5, 000. 00
Dependents: Wife, Margaret J. Meals, age 31. Son, Donald Meals,
Past health: Prior to his death, deceased was always in good health.
He was 34 years of age, worked regularly and supported his family, and was the assistant superintendent of the Sunday school. This man had a life expectancy of 34 years. Injuries resulting in death: This man was not killed instantly; in fact, he remained conscious and lived for several hours. He sustained a fracture of the skull; laceration in center of forehead about 2 inches long, above bridge of nose and extending over left eye; broken nose with debridation of skin; two deep lacerations under chin exposing bony structure; deep lacerations through right side of mouth; a 6-inch laceration of right arm; multiple abrasions of both hands; compound fractures of right leg, nearly torn off below the knee; abrasions of left knee; fracture of left leg at knee joint; internal injuries with marked hemorrhages. Pain and suffering, Employment: Deceased had been employed at Appleby Bros. for 5 years, and was earning $22.50 per week. There were chances of advancement in his position. He paid all of the household expenses and supported his family. Whatever money his wife earned was her own. At least $15 out of his salary was contributed each week to his family. Since he had a life expectancy of 34 years, and $780 out of his salary was used each year for his family (not taking into consideration the advances that he was bound to receive in his salary), their loss would be..
-$15, 000. 00
15, 992. 50
Estate of Bessie Mae Morgret versus Ralph Mitzel (Pennsylvania National Guard)—
Injuries and damages, May 21, 1941
$5. 00 S. Harper Myers, undertaker..
425. 00 L. A. Bender, letters of administration.
4. 50 Tombstone.
Total. Employment: Plaintiff did housework for various individuals, whereby she earned approximately $10 per week. Past health: Deceased was a woman 54 years of age, very active, did all of her own work and did outside work as well. She was in good health. The life expectancy of this woman is 22 years. Injuries resulting in death: Broken left arm, left side of head and face
crushed in, internal injuries, etc. Loss to family: Her daughter, Pearl E. Morgret, resided with her mother. As such, the mother, the deceased, did all of the services, including housework, preparing meals everything for this daughter. In addition thereto, she took care of Donald Meals, her grandson, while his parents worked, and she did the housework and prepared meals for Margaret Meals, her other daughter. Since the death of this woman, Margaret Meals now has to pay someone $5 a week to care for her son, as well as pay someone to do her houseFork. Pearl Morgret now has to pay board and pay to have her Washing done, as well as pay for all of the other things that her mother did for her while she was alive. On top of this, all of these people have suffered the loss of affection, attention, and love that only a mother can give..
5, 684. 50
Margaret Meals versus Ralph Mitzel (Pennsylvania National Guard)— Injuries
and Damages May 21, 1941 Medical expenses: Carlisle Hospital.
$74. 00 Dr. Earl Miller.
100.00 Dr. John Harris.
25. 00 Dr. Shepler..
219.00 185. 00
14. 50 32. 50 35. 00 5. 00 3. 00
.69 2. 25
Injuries: Plaintiff suffered a badly fractured lower left jaw, through
neck of the mandible, deep infection of the soft tissues of the neck, opening from floor of mouth and between teeth and cheek; very extensive and dangerous and painful, due to close proximity to glands and vascular systems of floor of mouth and neck. Draining from Nov. 28 to Dec. 19, 1939. The opening left a scar about an inch long. Her jaw was greatly swollen. There is a lump on the left side of her face, resulting from the fracture. The fractured jaw could not be reduced until Dec. 7, 1939, when intradental wiring was used to wire the upper and lower jaws together. Plaintiff was unable to eat, except with the use of straws. She has a permanent scar on her face; a severe laceration of her left thigh, which is jagged and red; a laceration in the shape of a crescent on her left leg leaving a scar which is noticeable through her stocking; a deep laceration of her left knee, leaving a scar about an inch and a half in length, also clearly visible through her stocking, these scars will also make the plaintiff very self-conscious in a bathing suit, since they are very red and ugly; bruises and contusions of her left side and entire body. Laceration of the scalp. This was caused by the hatpin in plaintiff's hat, which entered her scalp at the time of the collision. Severe shock to her nervous system. Pain and suffering--
3, 000. 00
3, 496. 94
Donald Meals versus Ralph Mitzel (Pennsylvania National Guard)- Injuries and
damages May 21, 1941 Medical expenses: Carlisle Hospital.
$57. 50 Dr. John Harris..
20. 00 Dr. Shepler-
Coat and leggings ruined.-
19.00 3, 500.00 Total..
Injuries: Severe concussion of the brain, puncture wound of the left
side of neck, which bled the entire night of the accident and which has left an ugly scar; fracture of the left side of the skull, leaving a large scar; lacerations and severe brush burns of the entire face; both wrists and legs were stoved so badly that it was several days before the hospital could tell whether or not they were broken, bruises of the entire body. This child, who is 9 years of age, could not turn his head for 6 weeks because of the puncture wound. He gets tired easily, has moody spells, whereas, before the accident, he was a normal, lively, happy child. He suffered severe shock. Mental pain and suffering
2, 616. 60
Betty Wrightstone versus Ralph Mitzel (Pennsylvania National Guard)-Injuries
and damages, May 21, 1941 Medical expenses: Carlisle Hospital..
$306. 00 Dr. Shepler-
100. 00 Dr. John H. Harris..
62. 50 Trips back and forth to Carlisle to doctor for treatments, etc. (90 trips)
50. 00 Total..
518. 50 Miscellaneous expenses: Clothing ruined, coat cleaned; mother's coat cleaned because of blood from Betty while going to hospital..
25. 00 Injuries: This child is 13 years of age. Prior to the accident she had a clear, unmarred complexion and was a robust, healthy child. She suffered severe shock to her nervous system, a fractured right wrist, severe laceration of left eyelids which has left a purple scar, a deep laceration over the bridge of the nose, which is also purple. Severe lacerations of left wrist, leaving raised, purple scars, one about an inch and a half long, another about an inch long, and still another about an inch long. She had 14 lacerations of the left hand. The arteries were severed in the left wrist, and she has very severe scars on her legs and thighs, which will be very noticeable when she wears & bathing suit. She suffered a compound, comminuted fracture of the left leg, leaving a posterior displacement, and a partial disability of the thigh. Plaintiff developed embolic pneumonia as a result of the exposure. She is very depressed and nervous and given to moody spells. In June 1940, the plaintiff was forced to return to the hospital and have a piece of bone removed from her leg, and there is a grave possibility that she will again have to return for another operation. Loss of time: This child is forced to lose 1 year's schooling, which means that she will have an additional year to remain in school. This, of course, will result in 1 year's loss of wages. The permanent scars will be an obstacle to her in securing a position in the future, and there is a possibility that she will have a permanent injury to her wrist as & result of the arteries being severed. This, likewise, will hinder her in her school work, as well as in securing a position. She has a feeling of inferiority, due to the scars. Damages
4, 043. 50