Truck Driver Freed In Death of Girl

Camden Courier-Post – February 9, 1938

Injury on Haddon Avenue Held Not Willful by Court After Testimony

A directed verdict of acquittal in Camden Criminal Court yesterday freed a Clementon driver of the “willful death” of an Audubon girl who died from injuries suffered when struck by his truck.

At the direction of Common Pleas Judge Clifford A. Baldwin, a mixed jury acquitted Lester Barney, 30, of 37 Davis Avenue, who was charged with manslaughter by automobile following the death of Miss Ida Mantano, 17, of 9 Taylor Avenue, last December 19.

It was brought out that Barney served 30 days in jail after conviction on “hit-run” charges in connection with the case.

The girl was injured December 15 at Old White Horse Pike and Haddon Avenue as she was waiting for a bus and shortly after she had left the night school where, she was a student.

Three state witnesses testified they saw the truck speed from the accident but none said he actually saw the girl struck. They are Samuel Yellin of 830 Mt. Vernon Street ; Russell Thayer, of 17 Chestnut Street, Haddonfield; and John E. Bennett of Fifth and Kayser Streets, Philadelphia.

Following their testimony Anthony Mitchell, counsel for Barney, moved for a directed verdict of acquittal.

“Nothing in the testimony of these witnesses,” Mitchell told the court, “has shown that Barney was guilty of the willful and wanton death of the girl. For that reason I ask for a directed verdict of acquittal.”

Judge Baldwin then asked Assistant Prosecutor Isaac W. Eason if he had any comment to make.

“The state has presented all its evidence,” Eason replied. “I am obliged to concur with defense counsel that there is no evidence of willful and wanton death.”


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