No. 801 APRIL TERM, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County at No. CC7806849A
Leonard I. Sharon, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Robert L. Eberhardt, Deputy District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Hester, Brosky and Van der Voort, JJ.
[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 503]
This is an appeal from an Order of the Court below denying a motion to dismiss an information which charges the appellant with recklessly endangering another person and with several traffic violations. Dismissal is sought on the ground that appellant is being placed in double jeopardy because he had previously pleaded guilty before a District Justice and paid fines for traffic violations occurring in another municipality but arising out of the same episode. The motion was denied and we affirm that ruling.
The episode began on November 13, 1978 in North Fayette Township, Allegheny County. The appellant was stopped by Jeffrey Falconer, a North Fayette Township policeman because he was travelling 45 miles an hour in a 35 mile an hour speed zone. The officer obtained appellant's driver's license, returned to his own car, and radioed headquarters for information on appellant. He was advised that South Fayette Township police had an arrest warrant out for appellant, and that the vehicle he was driving was suspected to be a stolen car. On the basis of this information, Officer Falconer asked appellant for his registration card and requested that he get out of his vehicle. Instead, appellant closed the truck window and took off at a high speed toward adjoining Robinson Township, Officer Falconer in pursuit. During the chase, appellant was driving at speeds in excess of 85 miles an hour. Officer Falconer dropped his pursuit at the township border, but radioed Robinson Township police to pick up the chase. Robinson Township police succeeded in apprehending appellant near the Thornburg Bridge in that township.
The Robinson Township police filed charges that same evening, charging appellant with three traffic violations,
[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 504]
speeding, running a stop sign, and eluding a police officer, and with the criminal misdemeanor of recklessly endangering two Robinson Township police officers by attempting to force their car off the road. A preliminary arraignment on these charges was held on November 14, 1978, in Night Court in Pittsburgh, at which time appellant was released on bond. A preliminary hearing on these charges was held on November 28, 1978, at which time the charges were all held over for Court, appellant's bond was continued, and the trial was listed for March 1, 1979. On February 27, 1979, the Commonwealth was granted a postponement and trial was set for April 30, 1979.
On November 16, 1978, three days after the episode and the filing of the Robinson Township charges, Officer Falconer of North Fayette Township, where the chase originated, issued traffic citations for speeding, for illegal passes on the crest of a hill and at a crowded intersection, and for fleeing and eluding the police in North Fayette Township. These citations were sent to appellant through the mail, but were ignored by him until a warrant for his arrest was issued on April 26, 1979.
By a curious coincidence, on April 26, 1979, the same day that the arrest warrant was issued on the North Fayette traffic violations, appellant's counsel petitioned the Court below to postpone his trial on the Robinson Township charges. The motion was granted and trial was postponed from the previously scheduled date of April 30, to June 18, 1979.
Thereafter appellant's moves followed a predictable pattern. On May 16, 1979, he appeared before the District Justice for North Fayette Township, pleaded guilty to the charges on his North ...