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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RAYMOND G. BURKE (07/27/77)

decided: July 27, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLANT
v.
RAYMOND G. BURKE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Raymond G. Burke, No. 75-20363.

COUNSEL

John L. Heaton, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellant.

Thomas C. Branca, with him Stanford S. Hunn Associates, for appellee.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 31 Pa. Commw. Page 291]

This appeal comes to us upon an agreed set of facts which are set forth in the opinion of the lower court:

At approximately 1:00 A.M. on the morning of May 14, 1975, Officer Wesley A. Hill of the Hatfield Township Police Department observed

[ 31 Pa. Commw. Page 292]

    a tan Chrysler being operated in an erratic manner. He followed at a distance and saw the suspect vehicle tailgating another vehicle. After the tan Chrysler had entered Chestnut Street from Cowpath Road, the operator suddenly stopped the vehicle and signaled a left turn. There was no street or driveway to the left. The operator then executed a right turn onto a one-way street and stopped. Officer Hill approached the vehicle, detected a strong bouquet of alcoholic beverage emanating from the operator and, after preliminary questioning of the [appellee], concluded that the operator was under the influence of intoxicating liquor. This conclusion was based upon the officer's observation of [appellee's] difficulty in disengaging the ignition buzzer system, the pronounced bouquet of alcoholic beverage, his erratic operation of the vehicle, and his combative demeanor.

[Appellee] was informed he was under arrest for drunk driving and requested to get into the police vehicle for transportation to the police station. Initially he refused, but complied after a third request and was transported to the station house. Upon his arrival, [appellee] because aggressive and threatened the lives of both Officer Hill and Sergeant Matthew Murphy. He was repeatedly requested to submit to a Mobat Sobermeter test by both officers, but steadfastly refused stating, 'What for? I'm drunk and I admit it. What more do you want?' [Appellee] was released a short time later and driven to his home in Hatfield by Sergeant Murphy.

A criminal complaint charging [appellee] with driving while under the influence of intoxicating

[ 31 Pa. Commw. Page 293]

    liquor, a violation of § 1037 of The Vehicle Code, was executed by Officer ...


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