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5. When she reached a point about miday of the Army truck, the truck driver suddenly swerved to the left. He did this without giving any signal of any sort. His act was very unexpected, and his left front wheel was almost up against the right side of our car before I realized what he was doing. The driver of the car in which I was riding seemed to try to avoid the accident by swerving to the left, but she was unable to get away from him. The Army truck struck us and our car went into and against a telephone pole on the left side of the road.

6. I was not very badly hurt in the accident and made no claim. However, Mrs. Sherman and Mrs. Vanderhoef were badly hurt and were taken to the Riverview Hospital by a lady who came up right after the accident.

7. Following the accident the driver of the Army truck, whose name was Billy Bernard and whose driver's license was No. 27522, stated that he was turning around because he had remembered something that he had forgotten and had to

8. I know that following this accident Mrs. Vanderhoef and Mrs. Sherman were both under the care of Dr. Melvin Wainright for quite some time. Mrs. Sherman especially seemed to be badly hurt and was laid up in bed for at least 6 weeks. Mrs. Vanderhoef was not so badly hurt it seemed to me.

9. I am sure that the driver of the Army truck had given no notice that he was going to make any turn. As Mrs. Vanderhoef started to pass him, I would have noticed it if his brakes had been applied. I had a good view and would have seen his hand if he had given any hand signal. 10. Since I have gone into the Army, Mrs. Sherman has died.

BENJAMIN F. SUMMERS. Sworn and subscribed to before me this 17th day of March 1944. (SEAL)

SHIRLEY G. GRENGER, Notary Public of New Jersey.

go back.

O

78TH CONGRESS

2d Session

}

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES S

REPORT No. 1476

BETTY ROBINS

MAY 22, 1944.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and ordered

to be printed

Mr. CHENOWETH, from the Committee on Claims, submitted the

following

REPORT

[To accompany H. R. 2512)

The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H..R. 2512) for the relief of Betty Robins, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

The amendment is as follows:

Page 1, line 6, strike out the figures "$11,829.50” and insert in lieu thereof "$3,000".

The purpose of the proposed legislation is to appropriate the sum of $3,000 to Betty Robins, of San Francisco, Calif., in full settlement of all claims against the United States as compensation for personal injuries, hospital, medical, and other expenses, sustained when struck by a United States Navy station wagon at the intersection of Gough and Hayes Streets, San Francisco, Calif., on January 26, 1942

STATEMENT OF FACTS

It appears that on January 26, 1942, at about 6:50 p. m., a Navy station wagon No. 7975, operated at the time by an enlisted man in the Navy, acting within the scope of his employment, was en route from the Federal Building to the official garage at San Francisco, Calif., was proceeding south on Gough Street at a speed not exceeding 15 miles an hour and had entered the intersection thereof with Hayes Street, which street contains double streetcar tracks which were wet and slippery, there appeared within the driver's vision two darkly clad women walking within the pedestrian cross walk, walking in an easterly direction from the southwest to the southeast corner of Gough and Hayes Streets.

The Navy driver, upon seeing the women directly in the vehicles path and not less than 5 feet away, applied his brakes in an effort

to stop, but due to the slippery condition of the pavement and streetcar tracks, there was insufficient traction and the vehicle struck the two women, knocking them to the ground. The evidence reflects that the Navy driver was arrested by the police on a charge of driving while drunk and without lights, to which charge he pleaded guilty on March 16, 1942.

The War Department's report states:

While the information in the possession of the Navy Department indicates that the accident might have been averted by the exercise of more caution on the part of the claimant, the records show that she was struck while in a pedestrian cross walk, in which locality she was entitled to the right-of-way under the California Vehicle Code. In view of this fact the Navy Department interposes no objection to the enactment of the bill H. R. 2512 in such amount as the Congress may deem appropriate.

Mrs. Robins was removed to the Mount Zion Hospital, San Francisco, Calif., and placed under care of their physician. It was found that she had suffered a broken leg, badly bruised and contused, and suffering from shock. She was confined for a total of 155 days. Medical, hospital, and other expenses incurred as a result of this accident, totaling $1,829.50, is undisputed.

It is evident that through no fault on her part, Mrs. Robins has sustained serious injuries, resulting in total incapacitation for more than a year. Therefore, your committee feels that she should be reimbursed for the expenses incurred and compensated for her suffering and recommends favorable consideration to the proposed bill, as amended.

Appended hereto is the Navy Department's report, together with other pertinent evidence.

Navy DEPARTMENT,

Washington, September 7, 1943. Hon. Dan R. McGEHEE, Chairman of the Committee on Claims,

House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The bill (H. R. 2512) for the relief of Betty Robins was referred to the Navy Department by your committee with request for the opinion of the Navy Department as to its merits.

The purpose of the proposed legislation is to pay to Betty Robins, of San Francisco, Calif., the sum of $11,829.50, in full settlement of all claims against the United States for personal injuries, hospital, medical, and other expenses, sustained when struck by a United States Navy station wagon at the intersection of Gough and Hayes Streets, San Francisco, Calif., on January 26, 1942.

It appears from the records of the Navy Department that on the date named in the bill, Navy station wagon No. 7975, operated at the time by an enlisted man in the Navy acting within the scope of his employment, was en route from the Federal Building to the official garage at San Francisco, Calif.

The Government vehicle was proceeding south on Gough Street at a speed not exceeding 15 miles per hour and had entered the intersection thereof with Hayes Street. The last-mentioned street contains double streetcar tracks. As the rear wheels of the station wagon crossed the fourth or most southerly rail, and front wheels were opposite the curb bounding the south side of Hayes Street, there appeared within the driver's vision two darkly clad women within the pedestrian cross walk, walking in an easterly direction from the southwest to the southeast corner of Gough and Hayes Streets.

Immediately upon observing the women directly in the path of the vehicle and not less than 5 feet away, the Government driver applied the brakes but, due to the slippery condition of the pavement and the position of the wheels on the streetcar tracks, there was insufficient traccion and the vehicle struck the two women, knocking them to the ground.

The two pedestrians, one of whom was the claimant named in the bill, were promptly removed to the Central Emergency Hospital where they were given first-aid treatment, after which they were removed to Mount Zion Hospital, 2200 Post Street, San Francisco, Calif., and placed under the care of their personal physician.

The enclosed copy of report of February 3, 1942, by the medical officer attached to the Navy recruiting station, San Francisco, shows the extent of the injuries to claimant as disclosed at that time.

The Government driver was given a citation by the local police authorities for violation of section 560-A of the California Vehicle Code, which reads:

"The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked cross walk, or within any unmarked cross walk, at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter."

The circumstances of the accident were thoroughly investigated at the time by an officer detailed for that purpose by the commandant of the Twelfth Naval District and a copy of his report of February 24, 1942, is attached for the information of the committee.

It will be noted therefrom that the investigating officer concluded that the accident was unavoidable, “being caused by a combination of bad weather, poor visibility, and the inattention of the two women who were so absorbed in conversation while crossing the intersection that they failed to take the reasonable care of ordinary prudent persons.”

On receipt of the bill, H. R. 2512, the commandant of the Twelfth Naval District was requested to have claimant examined by a medical officer under his command to determine her present physical condition and the possibility of permanent injury. There is attached a copy of the report dated July 20, 1943, of such medical officer, in which the conclusion is reached, based on examination conducted on that date, “that patient is physically able to carry on normal activities."

There are also enclosed copies of bills submitted in behalf of the claimant for medical care, hospitalization, and other expenses alleged to have been incurred as a result of the accident. In addition to these expenses, the claimant, in an affidavit of August 19, 1943 (copy herewith), claims $10,000 “on account of pain and suffering and shock.” Deducting this amount from the total relief contemplated by the bill leaves the sum of $1,829.50 for expenses.

While no question is raised as to the amount claimed for expenses incurred, it would appear on the basis of the report of the medical officer above mentioned as to the physical condition of the claimant, that the additional sum of $10,000 for pain and suffering would be excessive. 'In the absence of information indicating permanent injuries, it would appear that an allowance of $1,000 on this account would be fair and reasonable, making the total relief contemplated by the bill $2,829. 50.

The cost of the proposed legislation is $11,829.50.

While the information in the possession of the Navy Department indicates that the accident might have been averted by the exercise of more caution on the part of the claimant, the records show that she was struck while in a pedestrian cross walk, in which locality she was entitled to the right-of-way under the California Vehicle Code. In view of this fact the Navy Department interposes no objection to the enactment of the bill H. R. 2512 in such amount as the Congress may deem appropriate.

The Navy Department has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there would be no objection to the submission of this recommendation. Sincerely yours,

James FORRESTAL, Acting

STATE OF CALIFORNIA,

City and county of San Francisco, 88:

STATEMENT OF EXPENSES

Betty Robins, being first duly sworn, deposes and says:

That she is the claimant in the matter now pending before the Committee on Claims of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States arising out of injuries received by her on January 26, 1942, when she was struck and knocked down by a station wagon owned and operated by the United States Navy in the city and county of San Francisco, State of California.

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