According to reports that reached a doctor, this is a personal injury claim as well as personal damages claim by four private individuals against the state of New York in 1955. Hyman Portnoy, Theodore Galperin, Irving Mittenberg and Sheldon Ludmerer were the people involved in a road car accident on the night of June 26, 1955 going to Monticello on Route 42. All four men were riding a 1949 Oldsmobile Sedan which was being driven by Ludmerer. According to reports, the Oldsmobile skidded to the accident point somewhere about one half mile near Kiamesha. According to Ludmerer, the car swerved, skidded and hit a stanchion before it went off the road and finally stopping at a ditch ahead.
The expert also got the report that according to the testimony of Portnoy, immediately before the car accident happened, he felt the car passed by some pebbles and stones some 2 to 3 feet along Route 42. He also further testified that about a week or two before the accident, he had been walking on the same route and saw that there were sand and dirt thick enough to cover the pavement but failed to describe the exact thickness of the dirt.
On the other hand, when Ludmerer testified, he said that he was very familiar with the road that they were travelling that night. He said he did not remember seeing any dirt or pebbles on the road that night. He also said that we was not really paying attention on the actual road. At the hospital he casually mentioned to the State Trooper that he thought he was probably going too fast. But this part was not mentioned on his testimony on the court.
Elmer R. Winterberger, Assistant Civil Engineer employed by the State was called in to testify about the general condition of Route 42. He claimed he personally checks Route 42 every 2.5 to 5 months and that any dirt that would cover or reached up to the pavement will be hazardous whether the road was straight or curved. He also testified that there were indeed several accidents happened in the past but those were of different nature and circumstances.
According to a report, another witness for the State was called to testify in the person of State Trooper Michael J. Mahoney who patrolled route 42 from noon to 8 o’clock in the evening. That was approximately 3-4 times he was able to pass by the area of the accident. He claimed that he noticed no dirt, stones or pebbles where the accident occurred. He also said that when he questioned the driver, Ludmerer, he mentioned that he might have gone a little too fast on the curve.
Also according to sources in New York City and Long Island, another state witness was called to testify. Robert Miller, a manager of an auto sales company and a photographer at the same time took photos of the car after the accident as well as the road. He said he was looking for a tire mark but found none. He also said he wasn’t able to see any dirt, stones or pebbles.
Based on evidences presented as well as testimonies of both sides, the claims for personal injury and damages were dismissed. The photographs taken by Miller showed no significant dirt or any part of the road that will contribute to having pebbles or stones that could significantly cause accidents and damages.
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