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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WALTER G. KAULBACK (07/12/78)

decided: July 12, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
WALTER G. KAULBACK, JR., APPELLEE



No. 1290 October Term, 1976, Appeal from the Order granting Demurrer in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division at No. 1395 of 1975.

COUNSEL

Charles M. Guthrie, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Reading, for Commonwealth, appellant.

John A. Boccabella, Reading, for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Hoffman, J., dissents. Watkins, former President Judge, did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Price

[ 256 Pa. Super. Page 14]

Appellee, Walter G. Kaulback, Jr., was charged with involuntary manslaughter under Section 2504 of the Crimes Code*fn1 arising from the death of a passenger in a car struck

[ 256 Pa. Super. Page 15]

    by appellee's car. At the conclusion of the Commonwealth's case, the trial court sustained a demurrer. As is their right, the Commonwealth has filed this appeal. We reverse.

The law in this Commonwealth is well established that the test to be applied upon consideration of the granting of a demurrer is whether the Commonwealth's evidence and all reasonable inferences therefrom are sufficient to support a verdict of guilty of the crime under consideration. The evidence must, in such cases, be read in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth. Commonwealth v. Carroll, 443 Pa. 518, 278 A.2d 898 (1971); Commonwealth v. Zeringo, 214 Pa. Super. 300, 257 A.2d 692 (1969).

With these principles in mind, the Commonwealth's evidence establishes that a violent intersection collision occurred on August 30, 1975, at about 10:30 p. m. Although it was dark, there was at least one street light illuminating the intersection. The weather was dry and clear. Traffic at the intersection was controlled by two overhead traffic signals operating on a green-yellow-red cycle. Both vehicles involved had their headlights on. Appellee entered against a red signal that had been red for a period of time sufficient to allow the other vehicle to delay for 2 to 6 seconds before starting on the green signal and then to travel 72 feet into the intersection to the point of impact.

The intersection is a right angle intersection where Museum Road and Old Mill Road, public highways in Berks County, cross. Museum Road runs east and west, Old Mill Road north and south. Each highway is about 40 feet wide and provides for traffic in both directions.

Mr. David Ullrich was operating his Cadillac automobile in a southerly direction on Old Mill Road. As his vehicle approached the intersection the traffic signal was red against him. He stopped until the light turned green and then, after delaying for 2 to 6 seconds, moved 72 feet into the intersection, intending to make a left hand turn. This placed the front of the Ullrich vehicle over the center line of Museum Road and at a point approximately 6 feet west of

[ 256 Pa. Super. Page 16]

    the east crosswalk across Museum Road. At this point the Ullrich car was violently struck by the appellee's car which was traveling in a westerly direction on Museum Road and which entered the intersection against a red light. As a result of this impact, the Ullrich car was spun around and moved 24 feet in a southerly direction. Appellee's car basically remained at the point of impact but spun around so that it faced in a southerly direction.

Appellee was alone in his car. Mr. Ullrich was accompanied by his wife and their eighteen year old daughter. Mrs. Ullrich, seated on the passenger side of the front seat, died as a result of injuries suffered in the collision. Miss Ullrich, a ...


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