APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT
J. SULSKI, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE ADESKO DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied November 1, 1972.
This is an appeal by plaintiff from the judgment on a verdict finding defendant not guilty in an automobile intersection collision. Plaintiff raises the following issues on appeal:
(1) Whether the verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence;
(2) Whether the court erred in giving defendant's special interrogatory to the jury;
(3) Whether the court erred in its instructions to the jury;
(4) Whether the court erred in permitting defense counsel to elicit and to argue that plaintiff's automobile did not have seat belts; and
(5) Whether defense counsel was guilty of improper and prejudicial conduct.
The facts are as follows:
On December 2, 1963, at approximately 7:45 P.M., defendant, Michael Scilingo was proceeding southward in the far eastern lane of Harlem Avenue near 40th Street in Lyons, Illinois. Defendant was driving a 1961 Thunderbird. It was snowing and the pavement was slick. Defendant had his windshield wipers operating and the headlights of his automobile were on. As defendant approached the intersection of Harlem Avenue and 40th Street, he noticed that plaintiff, Elaine Havlovic had stopped her 1963 Ford auto in the inner northbound lane of Harlem Avenue in preparation for a left turn to the west onto 40th Street. Traffic on Harlem Avenue was medium and traffic conditions caused a slow speed of movement. The posted speed limits on Harlem Avenue in the area in question was 35 miles per hour. Defendant was traveling approximately 20 miles per hour.
When defendant was some 55 to 70 feet from plaintiff's auto, he noticed that plaintiff was making her left turn across the path of defendant's northbound vehicle. When defendant saw plaintiff's car beginning to turn in front of him, he began pumping his brakes because of the slick road conditions. Defendant's car did not respond and the front of defendant's vehicle struck the right door of plaintiff's car causing damage to the right side of plaintiff's car and a small dent to the bumper of defendant's car. Plaintiff testified that she never saw defendant's vehicle.
Plaintiff, who was six-months pregnant at the time of the accident, became hysterical and was taken to the hospital, but was released that evening. She saw her family physician the next day and complained of injuries to her back and abdomen and severe headaches. The doctor saw plaintiff again on December 30, 1963, and she reported that her back and leg were all right. Her child was born with no particular problems on March 8, 1964.
On December 29, 1964, plaintiff complained of severe pain down the back of her left leg and was treated by a physician. The pain subsided, but returned some months later and plaintiff subsequently underwent surgery for a herniated spinal disc. Plaintiff later required an additional disc operation and treatment for certain complications of the surgery. Plaintiff sued for damages incurred by her as a result of the accident on December 2, 1963, alleging that her later injuries resulted from the accident which she contended was caused solely by the negligence of the defendant. Plaintiff appeals from a jury verdict and judgment finding defendant not guilty.
• 1 Plaintiff's initial contention on appeal is that the verdict for defendant was against the manifest weight of the evidence. Plaintiff in the instant case, admitted that she began to turn left slowly across the northbound lanes of Harlem Avenue without ever seeing the defendant's auto. Defendant testified that the pavement was slick and when defendant saw plaintiff beginning ...