Angela Alvarado, age 11, ran into the street and was struck by the defendant's car. From a judgment dismissing her action, granted under Rule 41(b) U.R.C.P. at the conclusion of the plaintiff's evidence, she appeals.
On this appeal we are concerned with the sufficiency of the evidence to raise a jury question as to (a) defendant's negligence, and (b) its proximate cause of plaintiff's injury.
On the evening of March 17, 1952, the plaintiff was playing tag with her girl friend, Karen Norton and her brother. He was chasing the two girls along the east side of Eccles Avenue in Ogden, Utah. They started across the street, but seeing a car headed north, they ran along parallel to it until it passed, then ran behind it westward across the street and directly into the path of the defendant who was driving from the north. He applied his brakes, missing and brushing Karen by the side of his car, but striking plaintiff.
(a) The only contention here made as to the defendant's negligence is that the evidence would reasonably support a finding that the defendant was speeding. The area was zoned for 25 miles per hour. On the following day, black skid marks were found on the pathway of the defendant's car at the scene of the accident. A neighbor stepped off the marks and calculated their length at 50 feet. An experienced police officer, acquainted with the use of charts which show the relationship between speed and stopping distances, was properly permitted to testify as to the speed of the defendant's car. On direct examination he said 35 miles per hour but on cross examination admitted having failed to take into consideration the length of the car and that the actual speed was anywhere from 25 to 30 miles per hour. It is this evidence which plaintiff argues was sufficient to require submission of the question of speeding to the jury.
Assuming that the evidence would justify a finding that the skid marks were laid down by defendant's car, the proof submitted would not substantiate a finding that he was driving over 25 miles per hour. The rule is familiar that "testimony of a witness on his direct examination is no stronger than as modified or left by his further examination or by his cross-examination. A particular part of his testimony may not be singled out to the exclusion of other parts of equal importance bearing on the subject."
The burden was upon plaintiff to prove the charge of speeding; such a finding of fact could not be based on mere speculation or conjecture,
Applying this principle to the case at hand, from the evidence that defendant's car was traveling "anywhere from 25 to 30 miles per hour," it follows that it is just as likely that he was going 25 miles per hour, a lawful speed, as it is that he was going 30 or any amount in between. Accordingly, there is no basis upon which the jury could find from a preponderance of evidence that the defendant was exceeding the speed limit.
(b) Even if the plaintiff were correct in her contention that the evidence would justify a finding of 5 or 10 miles per hour in excess of the speed limit, she would still be faced with the necessity of proving that such excess of speed was the proximate cause of the injury.
Judgment affirmed. Costs to respondents.
McDONOUGH, HENRIOD, and WADE, JJ., and NORSETH, District Judge, concur.
WOLFE, C.J., being disqualified does not participate herein.