People v. Dalzell

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[Appellate Department, Superior Court, San Bernardino.

Crim. A. No. 16. Nov. 30, 1953.]



William Campbell Dalzell in pro. per., for Appellant.

Lowell E. Lathrop, District Attorney (San Bernardino), for Respondent.



The complaint in this matter charges the defendant with "violation of Sec. 577, Vehicle Code." It is further alleged that the defendant drove "upon a public highway in the City of Upland, to-wit: 19th Street and Euclid Avenue, West Drive, a vehicle ... said Highway was then and there sign posted with a sign located at and near the entrance to said highway, having the word 'Stop' printed thereon in the manner prescribed by law, and that said defendant did wilfully and unlawfully fail and neglect to stop such vehicle at said sign before entering and crossing said highway and intersection."

The following statement appears in the docket maintained by the judge of the trial court:

"Defendant admits under oath, the fact that he did not stop at the West Drive of Euclid Avenue and Nineteenth Street and contends that the sign is not placed according to law, if placed pursuant to a City Ordinance and that Euclid Avenue is but one highway."

The court found the defendant "guilty as charged."

Section 577 of the Vehicle Code provides:

"The driver of any vehicle upon approaching any entrance of a highway or intersection ... signposted with a stop sign ... shall stop:

"(a) Before entering the cross walk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at a limit line when marked, otherwise before entering such highway or intersection."

From the statement contained in the docket it is apparent that the only stop which the defendant failed to make was that required by a stop sign directing traffic going easterly along 19th Street at its intersection with the west roadway of Euclid Avenue.

Euclid Avenue consists of two roadways but is only one highway. [1] The boundaries of an intersecting highway constitute the boundary of the intersection contemplated by the Vehicle Code. (Blanton v. Curry, 20 Cal. 2d 793 [129 P.2d 1].)

[2] Under the law, as applied to the facts in this case, when the defendant, traveling west on 19th Street, arrived at the west roadway of Euclid Avenue he already was within [121 Cal. App. 2d Supp. 876] the intersection and his failure to stop at some point within the intersection cannot be held to constitute a violation of Vehicle Code, section 577, which contemplates a failure to stop before entering the intersection.

Under the circumstances, there is no reason to determine whether or not the stop sign which was placed within the intersection but immediately east of the west roadway of Euclid Avenue was validly placed and required motorists intending to cross the west roadway to stop before doing so.

Assuming that the stop sign under consideration was validly placed and that the defendant's failure to stop before entering the west roadway of Euclid Avenue constituted a violation of Ordinance 354 of the city of Upland, the fact remains that the defendant was not charged with violating said ordinance and, under the complaint filed against him, could not be found guilty of such a violation.

The judgment is reversed.