Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Gerard Duffy, No. 76-8503-10-6.
John L. Heaton, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellant.
William B. Eagan, with him Eagen and Bowen, for appellee.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
[ 34 Pa. Commw. Page 529]
This case is on appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County which reversed a decision that the appellee's motor vehicle operator's license should be suspended for one year. That suspension was based on Section 618(a)(2) of The Vehicle Code (Code), Act of April 29, 1959, P.L. 58, as amended, 75 P.S. § 618(a)(2), repealed by Act of June 17, 1976, P.L. 162, which reads as follows:
(a) The secretary may suspend the operating privilege of any person, with or without a hearing before the secretary or his representative, upon receiving a record of proceedings, if any, in which such person pleaded guilty, entered a plea of nolo contendere, or was found guilty by a judge or jury, or whenever the secretary finds upon sufficient evidence:
(2) That such person has been convicted of a misdemeanor, or forfeited bail upon such
[ 34 Pa. Commw. Page 530]
a charge, in the commission of which a motor vehicle or tractor was used.
The appellee pleaded guilty, on March 16, 1976, to a violation of Section 3921(a) of the Crimes Code, 18 Pa. C.S. § 3921(a), (theft by unlawful taking or disposition, a misdemeanor), and as a result his operating privileges were suspended.
The facts are as follows. On October 18, 1975, appellee was driving a Chevy truck along U.S. Route 309 near Quakertown Borough in Bucks County. Appellee was accompanied by a Mr. Curanski,*fn1 who had the owner's permission to use the truck appellee was driving. Mr. Curanski left the Chevy truck and entered property owned by Integrity Auto Wholesalers. Mr. Curanski then stole a 1972 Ford pick-up camper and drove it from the premises. The appellee followed Mr. Curanski down the road, but at no time actually drove the stolen vehicle. On at least two occasions the appellee and Mr. Curanski were observed engaged in conversation as they drove the two vehicles. A short time later Mr. Curanski was involved in an accident with another vehicle. The ...