McKENZIE v. DETENBER

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Court of Appeals of Georgia.

McKENZIE et al. v. DETENBER.

No. A97A0052.

Decided: June 10, 1997

Robert Altman, Richard E. Stark, Atlanta, for appellants. Hertz & Link, Houston D. Smith III, Leah R. Simpson, Atlanta, for appellee.

The McKenzies and Christman, plaintiffs below, appeal from the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment to Detenber on the question of whether an intersection qualified as an unmarked crosswalk for purposes of their negligence suit arising from being struck by Detenber's car while crossing Pharr Road in Atlanta.1

It is undisputed that Pharr Road runs east and west and is intersected on its south side by Boling Way, which dead ends at Pharr Road, forming a “T” intersection.

We agree with the trial court that this issue is determined by the clear language of OCGA § 40-1-1(10) and our previous holding in Griffin v. Odum, 108 Ga.App. 572, 574, 133 S.E.2d 910 (1963).  “Crosswalk” is defined by the statute as “(A) That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway;  or (B) Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.”  (Emphasis supplied.)

While the dirt street or driveway forming the “T” intersection in Griffin was not found to be publicly maintained nor were sidewalks present, as required for the statute to be applicable, we find the logic used there in construing the statute compelling, even if dicta.   As stated, “there could be no unmarked crosswalk here according to the definition set forth in the Code. This definition implies that an unmarked crosswalk can exist only if a street's sidewalk is intersected and continues on after such intersection.   Otherwise, there can be no ‘connection of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway,’ as is the case when there is only a “T”, or variated “T” type intersection as here involved.   Where there is this type intersection, the sidewalk terminates at such intersection, and no crosswalk exists unless it is marked as such.”  Griffin, supra at 574-575, 133 S.E.2d 910, citing Langlois v. Rees, 10 Utah 2d 272, 351 P.2d 638 (1960) and Martin v. Harrison, 182 Or. 121, 186 P.2d 534 (1947).

We also find persuasive cases from sister states which have reached the same conclusion based on identical wording of their statutes.   See, e.g., Garrett v. Nagel, 417 N.W.2d 855 (N.D.App.1988);  Kauffman v. Schroeder, 116 Ariz. 104, 568 P.2d 411 (1977);  Souvorin v. Lerich, 180 So.2d 180, 182 (Fla. DCA 3 Dist. 1965) (all citing Griffin, supra);  compare Fan v. Buzzitta, 42 A.D.2d 40, 344 N.Y.S.2d 788 (1973).

That many pedestrians cross where plaintiffs were hit does not make a crosswalk of it.  Conner, supra at 104, 207 S.E.2d 604.

Judgment affirmed.

FOOTNOTES

1.   The standard of care to be considered differs if the place of crossing is considered an unmarked crosswalk.   See Conner v. Mangum, 132 Ga.App. 100, 104, 207 S.E.2d 604 (1974).

ANDREWS, Chief Judge.

McMURRAY, P.J., and SMITH, J., concur.