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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHARLES O. JONES (09/27/76)

decided: September 27, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
CHARLES O. JONES, APPELLANT



Appeal from the judgment of sentence dated December 4, 1974, of the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County, Criminal, at No. 13 of 1974. No. 11 March Term, 1976.

COUNSEL

Harvey S. Miller, Chambersburg, for appellant.

Edwin D. Strite, Jr., Asst. Dist. Atty., Chambersburg, for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Hoffman, J., files a concurring opinion. Cercone and Spaeth, JJ., concur in the result.

Author: Price

[ 242 Pa. Super. Page 474]

On May 30, 1974, appellant Charles O. Jones was convicted by a jury of driving while under the influence of

[ 242 Pa. Super. Page 475]

    intoxicating liquor.*fn1 On this appeal, he raises several issues, all of which are without merit. Therefore, we will affirm the judgment of sentence of the lower court.

On January 1, 1974, Officers Sprenkle and Singer of the Waynesboro Police Department proceeded to the intersection of Alley 1 and North Potomac Street to investigate a reported accident. There, they encountered a wrecked automobile. A trail of blood led from the automobile to two men standing together in an alley. As the officers approached, they noticed that one of the men (appellant) had a severely bleeding nose. While Officer Sprenkle called for an ambulance, Officer Singer asked the men if they knew who had been driving the wrecked vehicle. Appellant stated that he had been driving, and handed Officer Singer his license and registration card. At that time, both Officers noticed that appellant's speech was incoherent, his mobility was impaired, and his breath smelled of alcohol. After the ambulance conveyed appellant to the hospital, Officer Sprenkle obtained a warrant for appellant's arrest on the charge of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. The warrant was executed at the hospital.

Appellant contends that his confession obtained at the scene should not have been admitted because the Commonwealth failed to establish the corpus delicti for the crime of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Appellant further contends that without the confession, the Commonwealth's evidence was insufficient to establish that he was operating the automobile.

In order to establish the corpus delicti, the Commonwealth need only prove that "some injury or loss has occurred in a manner consistent with commission of a crime by someone." Commonwealth v. Johnson, 235 Pa. Super. 185, 188, 340 A.2d 515, 516 (1975). In this case, the Commonwealth established that an automobile

[ 242 Pa. Super. Page 476]

    accident occurred. At the scene of the accident, an injured man was visibly intoxicated. Thus, the corpus delicti was unquestionably established.

Appellant next alleges that his confession should not have been admitted because, at the time, he had not been given the warnings mandated by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). However, when appellant admitted to being the driver of the car, he was not a subject of custodial interrogation. Officers Singer and Sprenkle were merely investigating an accident. Once the possibility of ...


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