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03/16/87 James G. Hood, v. the Industrial Commission

March 16, 1987

JAMES G. HOOD, APPELLANT

v.

THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION ET AL. (HOOD CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, APPELLEE)



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT, INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION DIVISION

510 N.E.2d 908, 158 Ill. App. 3d 81, 109 Ill. Dec. 840 1987.IL.309

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Randolph County; the Hon. Carl H. Becker, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE BARRY delivered the opinion of the court. McNAMARA, WOODWARD, McCULLOUGH, and KASSERMAN, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE BARRY

The petitioner, James G. Hood, filed a claim under the Workers' Compensation Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 138.1 et seq.) for injury he sustained while employed by the respondent, Hood Construction Company (the company). The arbitrator awarded the petitioner 55 2/7 weeks of temporary total disability. In reversing the decision of the arbitrator, the Commission found that the petitioner failed to prove that he sustained compensable accidental injuries on December 27, 1982. The circuit court of Randolph County confirmed the decision of the Commission. The petitioner brings the instant appeal.

The evidence at the arbitration hearing established the following. Ralph Hood, the petitioner's father, owned the company, which was located in rural Sparta. The company employed the petitioner to manage employees, pick up supplies, and run errands. The company furnished a 1982 Camaro (the vehicle) and paid for its gas and insurance. When the petitioner traveled in the vehicle, he was allowed to transport passengers but not to alter his route to pick them up. He recorded his destinations on his time card and was paid his customary hourly rate for his travel time.

The company also owned a racing airplane which Ralph and the petitioner had been constructing for more than two years. Both the company and Hood Lumber Company bought the plane's parts and supplies. Hood anticipated that the completed airplane would advertise the company.

The weekend prior to December 27, 1982, Ralph instructed the petitioner to fill nitrous oxide tanks when he next went to St. Louis, so they could install a gas turbocharger in the airplane. On December 27, the petitioner checked the supply of step ties and worked on a roof until approximately 10 a.m., when he went to Quality Auto, a body shop in Red Bud, to obtain a repair estimate for the vehicle as Hood had requested. Fred Wood, the body shop owner, examined the vehicle but asked the petitioner to return later for a written estimate.

At approximately 1 p.m. the petitioner met his friend, Christine Sinn, in Marissa. They picked up Michael Schoenbeck and Anthony Shirk, two additional friends. All three passengers thought they were riding to Belleville. Instead, they proceeded directly to Midwest Four Wheel Drive in St. Louis, where the petitioner purchased the nitrous oxide and the passengers either waited in the vehicle or viewed "Bigfoot," a large truck. To accommodate Christine, the petitioner next drove to Fast Ed's, a music store, to pick up Christine's snare drum. As it was beyond lunch time, the parties made a brief stop at a nearby McDonald's, and then drove back toward Red Bud to obtain the repair estimate. From St. Louis the claimant traveled Route 3, the route which would take him to Red Bud, Marissa, or Sparta. While proceeding south on Route 3 at 4:43 p.m., the vehicle struck an automobile in the northbound lane.

Three months later the petitioner resumed consciousness. In January of 1985, he was confined to a wheelchair and was paralyzed on one side.

Arbitrator Clyde Boyd found that the petitioner's December 27, 1982, accidental injuries arose out of and in the course and scope of his employment with the company. The arbitrator found the following. On December 27, the petitioner was instructed to secure an estimate for the damaged vehicle which the company provided for the petitioner's business and personal use. He had previously been asked to refill the nitrous oxide containers for the company aircraft. After leaving a company jobsite, the petitioner drove to a repair shop to obtain the estimate. The petitioner then purchased the nitrous oxide and en route to obtain the written estimate stopped to pick up a passenger's drum. The arbitrator awarded the petitioner 55 2/7 weeks of temporary total disability for the petitioner's condition, which had not reached a permanent state.

No evidence was presented on review. In reversing the decision of the arbitrator, the Commission denied the petitioner's claim for failure to prove compensable accidental injuries on December 27, 1982. The circuit court of Randolph County confirmed the decision of the Commission. The petitioner appeals from that decision.

The petitioner argues that as a matter of law, the accident occurred in the course of his employment. The petitioner suggests that the undisputed facts indicate that his St. Louis trip to perform company errands was within the scope of his employment; his insignificant deviations were foreseeable; and, when the accident ...


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