Jury awards $10,000 in truck wreck

July 19-22, 1960 A jury of 10 men and two women deliberated nearly five hours Wednesday before awarding $10,000 in damages to Lee Walker Turnell of Placid, a county employee injured last year in a two-truck collision. The trial in the 35th District Judge Conner Scott’s court lasted three days. Turnell’s lawyer, Earl W. Smith of San Angelo, argued that his client, while driving a county pickup truck on U.S. Highway 190 three miles east of Rochelle, was struck from the rear by a trailer truck belonging to Foy McMahan and driven by Melvin B. Pierce, both of Lometa. The accident occurred May 19, 1959. Smith said Turnell suffered back and head injuries and a dislocated shoulder and would be 25 percent incapacitated for the rest of his life. Defense lawyer M. Hendricks Brown of Fort Worth argued that Turnell was traveling on the shoulder of the road, but then Pierce attempted to pass him, he pulled the pickup back into the road, and Pierce could not help but hit him. He also argued that although Turnell was injured, the injuries were not as great as Smith had claimed, and called the sum of money the plaintiff was asking “unreasonable” and “astronomical.” Smith had asked the jury to award his client $72,000. The jury’s verdict was in the form of answers to 42 “special issues” or questions contained in the court’s charge to the jury. In answering the “special issues,” the jury said Pierce failed to keep a proper lookout, was following too closely, failed to keep the truck under control, failed to apply his brakes at a sufficient distance to avoid the accident, and failed to sound his horn before the accident. The jury ruled that the truck owner, Foy McMahan, was negligent in not checking to see that Pierce had an unexpired and valid driver license. In determining the sum of money to be awarded the plaintiff the jury took into consideration physical and mental pain caused by the accident, Turnell’s decrease in his capacity to work, and all necessary and reasonable medical treatment. In answering the last two special issues, the jury determined the value of the pickup truck to be $350 before the accident and $50 afterward. Joe H. Foy of San Angelo and Aubrey Davee of Brady assisted Smith with the case of the plaintiff, and Brown was assisted by Charles J. Murry in the defense. On the jury were K.O. Ellington, foreman; Granville Bryson, Mrs. W.C. Hutto, Mrs. C.H. Coggin, R.C. Benefield, M.M. Virdell, Jack Garner, Lincoln Lohn, George Kidd, Jr., George Dutton, L.C. Hargrove and L.B. Russell. * * * 1,000 visitors flock to Lohn homecoming More than 1,000 persons attended the Lohn school homecoming last Sunday, with ex-students meeting to renew old acquaintances, and former teachers and residents of the community swapping experiences and reminiscing. Visitors were present from Oklahoma, Florida, Utah, New Mexico, California, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Arkansas, Indiana and Illinois, as well as from all parts of Texas, according to celebration officials. “We had enough food left over to feed several hundred,” a spokesman said. The arrangements committee, headed by Fred Lohn, president, expressed thanks to each person who worked hard in making the homecoming a success. “We would like to thank everyone who brought food, also those who donated goats, and to those who provided the ice, tents, tables, fans and containers for the food and drinks; for the cash donations which amounted to $182.50. That which is left after expenses are paid will go into the cemetery fund,” the committee said. * * * Burglars back again, test Duncan’s alarm Prowlers gained entry into two Brady firms, Brady Butane and Duncan Chevrolet, early Wednesday morning. First reports, however, indicate that nothing was taken at either place. Burglars, using a sharp pointed instrument, removed a window from its frame at Brady Butane Company at the end of South Bridge Street, but co-owner Ross Huffman said nothing had been taken, as far as he knew. “I’d have to take an inventory to be sure, but I haven’t noticed anything yet,” he said. This is the second time this summer that prowlers have broken into the firm. About $60 was taken by thieves June 20. Last time the unwelcome visitors entered through a window on the dark, north side of the building, but this time they climbed through a window “not three feet from the light.” “We’re putting up some outside lights and taking other measures so this won’t happen again,” Huffman said. G.E. Duncan, owner of Duncan Chevrolet Company, 301 South Bridge, said a burglar or burglars, entered his place through a window in the back. A burglar alarm recently installed went off about 4 a.m. Wednesday morning, and Duncan believes this may have frightened the prowlers off. This is the third time Duncan Chevrolet has been burglarized. Thieves made off with $469.51 last January, and safecrackers did $180 damage to the company safe last April, but left without taking anything. * * * Ranch worker killed by bull at Pontotoc James (Red) Polk, 37, of Pontotoc, was killed Tuesday by a bull on the Henry Taylor ranch, about six miles northeast of Pontotoc. Polk went to work on the ranch at 8 a.m. Tuesday. When he failed to return Tuesday afternoon, friends and relatives began a search for him. Two brothers, J.P. of Llano and Woodrow Polk of Pontotoc, found his body about midnight, about 200 yards from where he had left his pickup truck. The body was badly mutilated, and the truck, too, had both of its headlights torn out. Friends speculated that the bull, a huge Brown Swiss, weighing about 1,700 pounds, had attacked the truck and then had overwhelmed Polk when he tried to drive the bull away. A pitchfork was found about 50 yards from the truck where Polk apparently had suffered with the bull. Polk’s body was stripped of its clothing, except for shoes and socks, as the bull rolled him on the rough limestone country. Every rib in Polk’s body was broken. Polk lived at Pontotoc with his father, Ramsey, and his brother, Woodrow. Survivors are the father, four brothers and two sisters.

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