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HAMMIG v. FORD

January 19, 1990.

BONNIE HAMMIG, Appellant,
v.
THOMAS FORD, Appellee.



The opinion of the court was delivered by

This is a wrongful death case brought by Bonnie Hammig against Thomas Ford. The District Court of Johnson County granted summary judgment in favor of defendant Ford. The propriety of that order is the controlling issue before us.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

  Thomas Ford was driving north on Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, Kansas, on November 21, 1985. James Brooks was driving south on the same thoroughfare. Brooks, in making a left turn onto 107th Street, collided with the Ford vehicle. Brooks fled the scene by proceeding east on 107th. As soon as it was apparent

[246 Kan. 71]

      to Ford that Brooks was not going to stop, he followed Brooks in order to obtain his license number.

  Shortly east of Metcalf, 107th Street makes an S curve; thereafter, it is straight all the way to Lamar, one-half mile east of Metcalf. The two cars sped east on 107th, with speeds reaching 60 miles per hour, although the speed limit was 30 or 35 miles per hour. Neither Brooks nor Ford remembers any other traffic on 107th. Brooks testified by deposition that, after about a block, he became aware that Ford was following him, but that was not why he was speeding; he was determined to leave the scene and go to Missouri. He did not want to be arrested for driving without a license.

  Even though Brooks had a head start, Ford was able to catch up to him and to read his license number. Ford then pulled over to the side of the street, about a half block west of Lamar, to write down the number. Brooks, however, did not stop or slow down. He proceeded to speed into the four-way stop intersection at Lamar, and in doing so collided with another vehicle in which Bret Hammig was a passenger. Hammig died of injuries sustained in the crash.

  This action is brought by Hammig's widow and sole heir, Bonnie Hammig, individually and as administratrix of his estate. Suit was commenced against Brooks; Brooks' parents, who were the owners of the car he was driving; and Ford. Summary judgment was entered in favor of Brooks' mother. Later, plaintiffs claims against Brooks and his father were settled, and an order was issued dismissing those claims with prejudice. The orders relating to the claims against Brooks and his parents are final, and no appeal has been taken from them.

  DISTRICT COURT'S DISPOSITION

  Defendant Ford moved for summary judgment, and the trial court agreed, finding

 
"that there are no material issues of fact remaining, and that reasonable minds cannot differ as to the fact that the actions or inactions of defendant Ford did not in any way cause or contribute to cause the collision between the Brooks and Hammig vehicles. Therefore, the Court finds that the defendant Ford is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Plaintiff appealed.

[246 Kan. 72]

     

  COURT OF APPEALS' ...


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