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Terrill v. Andrlik

JANUARY 14, 1970.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. WILLIAM H. BARTH, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded.

MR. JUSTICE DRUCKER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT. Plaintiff, the owner and occupant of an automobile, brought this action for damages for personal injuries occasioned by the wilful and wanton misconduct of defendant, the driver of the automobile. At the close of plaintiff's case the court granted defendant's motion for a directed verdict. Plaintiff appeals contending that the trial court erred in directing a verdict for the defendant.

Testimony of Dean Terrill, the plaintiff, in his own behalf:

Shortly before 4:30 p.m. on September 1, 1960, he entered his 1957 Lincoln convertible along with the defendant. After he had gotten into the driver's seat he remembered that he had left something in his apartment. He asked the defendant to bring the car out in front and wait for him. When he returned, the defendant was in the driver's seat and he told the defendant, "Let's go." The defendant continued to be the driver until the time of the accident.

Defendant headed east toward Lake Shore Drive. As they approached the local lanes of Lake Shore Drive the defendant stopped the car at Chestnut for a stop sign. The defendant then turned north to the local Lake Shore Drive traffic lane and proceeded north to Delaware Place. At Delaware Place there is only one lane where a right turn into the express lanes is permitted. They were in this easternmost local lane. There are eight express lanes and at this time in the afternoon six of these lanes are devoted to northbound traffic. There was a barrier placed across the entrance to the four northbound express lanes on the east nearest the lake.

There was traffic control permitting access from the local northbound lanes to the two westernmost express lanes going north. "There was a sign on the red and go post saying that the turn to the east, to the express lanes is permitted on the green arrow only." The northbound lane does not move when the green arrow is on. There is no movement north and south permitted in the four westernmost express lanes when the green arrow is on.

The condition of the traffic was "tending to be heavy" in both the local and express lanes. As the car approached the signal it stopped behind two other cars for the red light. There were at least three cars to the left (the northbound through local lane).

As the green arrow came on "the number one car that was stopped turned and took the green arrow and proceeded" to the north express lane. The number two car moved up and stopped and did not take the green arrow. Defendant had to stop the car too. The defendant honked his horn as did the people behind him, "trying to get the lady who was in the right turn lane to take the arrow." She did not move while the green arrow was on.

As the green arrow went off she then moved straight north in the local lane as did the cars to the left. All of a sudden the defendant started the car "very suddenly" to take "the curve to go into the express lanes. I immediately, rather instinctively turned to the right to see the condition of oncoming traffic from the south in the express lanes. And I saw that we were all right from there, that the traffic coming north hadn't quite caught up. And then I swung around and looked to the north and saw one car approaching very rapidly from the north. I yelled, `Watch out for that car,' and almost momentarily after that, at that time Derr applied the brakes very suddenly and a moment later, why, this car crashed into, the southbound car crashed into the front, left front of our car."

He then related the injuries he received in the accident and the damage to his automobile.

On cross-examination he stated that the other car was going about forty or forty-five miles an hour when the impact occurred. He was in a hurry when he came back down from his apartment and told the defendant to drive. There was nothing unusual about the defendant's driving until he approached the green arrow light. It was not until the defendant "started the car to, to make his turn into a, into the express lane of traffic when I looked around." He looked around to the south and saw traffic moving north. This occurred after the green arrow had gone off. He said something like, "I think I said something about it seems to be clear coming south. It seems to be clear from this direction or from the south, or something to that effect."

When the light changed from the green arrow to green he knew he wasn't supposed to go out on the express lanes. He did not tell the defendant to stop, "I didn't try to direct his traffic."

Testimony of Marshall Davis, called by the plaintiff:

He is an associate city engineer for the Bureau of Street Traffic, Chicago, Illinois. He brought with him the timing sequence and traffic control information pertaining to the intersection of Delaware Place and Lake Shore Drive on September 1, 1960. The lights were set to the rush hour pattern beginning at 4:00 p.m.

After a full red light in the northbound local lanes a right turn green arrow comes on for thirty-one seconds. During this thirty-one second green arrow the local curb lane is permitted to turn right, into the northbound express lanes. The through northbound local traffic remains stopped and the two northbound and two southbound express lanes are also stopped with a red light. After the thirty-one second green turn arrow is completed, there is a four-second interval where it is off. This is a transitional interval and no movement is permitted. After this four-second interval the green light begins for the northbound ...

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