Atkinson v. Henderson

Annotate this Case
Atkinson v. Henderson, et al. Filed September 2, 1999 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


Ryan Atkinson,
Plaintiff and Appellant,


Sharlene Henderson, individually,
and as guardian of Patience Henderson,
Lloyd G. Bytheway and June Bytheway,
Defendants and Appellees.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 981381-CA

September 2, 1999
  1999 UT App 255 -----

First District, Logan Department
The Honorable Clint S. Judkins

Loren M. Lambert, Midvale, for Appellant
Peter H. Christensen, Salt Lake City, for Appellee


Before Judges Greenwood, Bench, and Orme.


Appellant appeals an order of the trial court granting appellees' motion for summary judgment. Appellant fails to set forth specific facts showing that appellees were negligent in attempting to exit the highway in front of the motor home. Neither the Joann Taylor affidavit nor the June Bytheway deposition relied upon by appellant in opposing summary judgment demonstrate that appellees unreasonably stopped in the traveled portion of the highway or failed to pull as far as practicable to the right side of the road. Rather, the evidence demonstrates that appellees were in the process of pulling off to allow traffic to pass and that the Bytheways were in the process of passing appellees at the time the accident occurred.

A driver owes a duty to exercise reasonable care toward other persons on the highway. See Malan v. Lewis, 693 P.2d 661, 673 n.15 (Utah 1984). Moreover, as the trial court correctly noted, a driver has a duty to maintain a proper distance and speed behind a vehicle in front of him to avoid colliding with that vehicle, see Utah Code Ann. § 41-6-62, and "there is no requirement that a driver completely exit the traveled portion of the road before reducing his or her speed to turn off." Appellees complied with the statutory duty to avoid colliding with the motor home, and nothing indicates that they breached their duty of reasonable care in slowing to exit the highway in front of the motor home. The trial court correctly concluded that appellees acted in such a manner that "Mr. Bytheway knew what [they] were doing. He slowed to allow [them] to complete the exit. Thus, Patience Henderson did not stop in an abrupt fashion that would cause danger to the Bytheway vehicle behind her."


Pamela T. Greenwood,
Associate Presiding Judge

Russell W. Bench, Judge

Gregory K. Orme, Judge