Criminal Law

US vs. Knight G.R. No. 8561 December 4, 1913 26 Phil 216 Reckless Negligence resulting in Homicide

FACTS:

This is an appeal from a judgment of the CFI of Manila convicting the defendant and appellant of reckless negligence resulting in homicide.

About 3.30 in the afternoon of the 13th of September, 1912, the defendant, a chauffeur in the employ of the quartermaster’s department of the United States Army, was proceeding in charge of a heavily loaded automobile truck along Calle Isaac Peral toward the bay. Except for a steam road roller, which was slowly making its way in the same direction, in advance of the truck, the street was wholly unoccupied at that time. Just as the truck was passing the slow-moving road roller, a boy about 10 or 12 years of age jumped from the step or sideboard of the road roller directly in front of the truck, was knocked down, run over, and instantly killed.

the truck was running at the rate of about 8 miles an hour as it came up with the road roller. At a distance of about 45 or 50 feet from the road roller, the defendant sounded his horn twice and then began to turn to the right in order to pass the road roller.

 

ISSUE:

Whether or not defendant was guilty of reckless negligence resulting in homicide.

 

RULING:

Based on these facts the Court agrees with the Solicitor-General that the prosecution failed to establish its charge of reckless negligence.

The conduct of the defendant was reviewed in order to determine whether or not he was recklessly negligent on the occasion when the accident occurred.

The accused in the case at bar cannot be said to have been negligent in the management of his machine, merely because he did not anticipate that the boy, 10 or 12 years of age, who was riding on the slow-moving road roller, would jump down directly in front of him at the moment when he turned his machine out into the open street in an effort to pass by. And it appearing that in all other respects he operated his machine carefully, prudently, and skillfully at the time when the accident occurred, having regard to all the surrounding circumstances, he must be acquitted of all criminal liability arising out of the unfortunate accident which resulted in the death of the boy.

In the absence of some exceptional circumstance, a speed of 8 miles an hour maintained by an automobile or automobile truck on a wide, unobstructed, and unoccupied street, in broad daylight, cannot be said to be excessive; and the accused having sounded his horn twice before he came up with the road roller, and before he turned out in the road in the attempt to pass, must be held to have complied with the regulation in that regard.

The judgment of the lower court convicting and sentencing the appellant should be and is hereby reversed, and he should be and is hereby acquitted of the offense with which he is charged, with the costs of both instances de oficio.

 

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