Traffic fatalities

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Richburg had another peculiarity about him. In the accident investigating days we used to have a real hell to pay if we had a traffic fatality on our accident districts. One day in the snow this gentleman tells me as a witness, he says, “I saw this fellow just lean over to his right in his car. The car went on down about a block or block and a half getting a little closer to the curb, jumped the curb, slid it into the side of this wall until the friction caused it to stop, and the wheels are turning in the snow. And I turned his engine off, and he was dead.”

Judge Richburg — this was before we had medical examiners, and the JPs passed on cause of death. We had a little hearing on it. I made my case because I didn’t want to get burned by having a traffic fatality. And I made my case and told the judge what all I observed. He says, “J.C., I commend you for your case. You’ve done a great job. Now let me interject. This man left a widow and a mortgage, and a double indemnity insurance policy for accidental death.” I’ll overrule you. Now, that might have cost our insurance companies a little bit of money, but that was human compassion. And I’m not sure I’m proud to see it gone.


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