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10/07/96 VACIUS SCERBA v. CITY CHICAGO

October 7, 1996

VACIUS SCERBA, AS FATHER AND NEXT FRIEND OF GEORGE SCERBA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, AND CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE PATRICK E. McGANN, JUDGE PRESIDING.

The Honorable Justice Wolfson delivered the opinion of the court: Buckley and Braden, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson

JUSTICE WOLFSON delivered the opinion of the court:

On July 2, 1984, at about 10 a.m., 12-year-old George Scerba (George) left his school to go home. Minutes later he was struck by a car near the middle of Sheridan Road, several feet south of its intersection with Rosemont Avenue in Chicago.

This case concerns the several choices available to George before he made the wrong decision to cross the street in front of a CTA bus.

George was injured when he was struck by the car. His father brought suit on George's behalf against the City of Chicago and the CTA. The trial court granted both defendants' motions for summary judgment. We affirm the order entered in favor of the City, but we reverse the summary judgment granted in favor of the CTA and remand that cause for further proceedings.

FACTS

All parties agree the relevant facts must be taken from the deposition of George Scerba.

At the time of the accident he lived at 6033 North Sheridan Road, on the east side of the street. He was a summer school student at Hardy Prep School, located at the southwest corner of Sheridan and Rosemont, about two-and-one-half blocks north of George's residence. To get home, George had to cross Sheridan Road at some point.

George had attended Hardy for at least eight years, walking between home and school many times a year by himself since he was nine or 10. He knew that Sheridan was a busy street with fast-moving traffic. He knew it was dangerous to cross that street outside of a crosswalk. In addition to the crosswalk at Rosemont, there were four other crosswalks that would take him from the west side of Sheridan to the east side, where his home was, each one regulated by traffic control devices.

On the day of the accident, George left school and approached the intersection of Sheridan and Rosemont. When he reached the intersection he saw the light for pedestrians to cross Sheridan was red. Instead of waiting for the light to turn green, he decided to walk south to a nearby bus stop to talk to some friends waiting for a bus headed south on Sheridan.

After several minutes the bus arrived. It was one of those "newer" accordion buses, the extended kind. His friends began to board. He decided to continue his journey home. He looked back to the crosswalk at Rosemont and noticed the bus had blocked the crosswalk across Sheridan and extended onto Rosemont. By then, the light had turned green for pedestrians to cross Sheridan. He saw that the accordion bus had pulled up short of the bus stop. He knew this bus would pick up its passengers and then pull away from the bus stop, clearing the blocked intersection, in 40 seconds or less.

Realizing that he would have to walk onto Rosemont to cross Sheridan at the intersection, and unwilling to wait until the bus cleared the intersection, George decided to cross Sheridan at a point about six feet in front of the bus, well south of the safety of the marked crosswalk. He had crossed Sheridan outside of a crosswalk at least five previous times.

George's view of traffic headed southbound on Sheridan was partially obstructed by the bus. Undeterred, he crossed in front of the bus and began walking east across Sheridan. That is when he was hit by ...


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