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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOSEPH PODRASKY (10/06/77)

decided: October 6, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOSEPH PODRASKY, JR., APPELLANT



No. 528 April Term, 1976, Appeal from the Order of February 17, 1976, of the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, Criminal Division at No. 125 June Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

Richard J. Green, Jr., Johnstown, for appellant.

J. Michael Dorezas, Assistant District Attorney, Hollidaysburg, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ.

Author: Price

[ 250 Pa. Super. Page 58]

Appellant was convicted of violating section 1001(1) of The Vehicle Code*fn1 and was sentenced to pay a fine of $10.00 and costs. We reverse.

On July 9, 1975, at approximately 12:06 a. m., a Logan Township police officer stopped the automobile which appellant had been driving on Pleasant Valley Boulevard, Logan Township, Blair County. The officer issued a citation charging appellant with violation of "Pa.M.V.C. 1001" in that "defendant did endanger life and property of another by making U turn on highway." Appellant was found guilty of this charge by a district magistrate and appealed to the Court of Common Pleas.

[ 250 Pa. Super. Page 59]

The case was tried before a judge on February 17, 1976. Patrolman Briggs, the officer who issued the citation, testified that he "observed a Chrysler, Pa. Registration X75988 pull to the extreme right hand side off the paved surface and make a U-Turn across Route 220 going from the north bound to the south bound lane, in front of on-coming traffic." (Printed Record 8a). The officer further stated that traffic at the time was "moderate" and that no directional signals were employed to herald the turn.

Appellant testified that, on the occasion in question, he was driving to the Veterans Administration Hospital to pick up his wife, a nurse at that institution. Appellant did not notice the hospital entrance in time to slow down and make the turn properly. He stated that he could have stopped and made the turn but felt that such a sudden maneuver might pose problems for the traffic behind him. Proceeding past the hospital entrance, appellant pulled completely off the road onto the right hand (east) berm. He waited for traffic in the near lane to pass, then pulled completely across the four lane highway onto the opposite (west) berm, where he stopped once again. Perceiving no oncoming traffic, appellant reentered the highway, proceeded to a point opposite the hospital entrance and made a left turn into the hospital drive, where the officer stopped him and issued the citation.

Appellant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support a verdict of guilty. We agree. Appellant was convicted under section 1001 of The Vehicle Code, which provides, in pertinent part:

"Reckless driving is unlawful, and for the purpose of this act, is construed to include the following:

(1) Any person who drives any vehicle or streetcar or trackless trolley omnibus upon a highway carelessly disregarding the rights or safety of others, or in a manner ...


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