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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RICHARD A. MERCER (01/22/82)

filed: January 22, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
RICHARD A. MERCER, APPELLANT



No. 1357 PHILADELPHIA, 1980, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Montgomery County, No. 582 of 1980.

COUNSEL

Richard W. Berlinger, Glenside, for appellant.

Richard E. Reilly, King of Prussia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Hester, Popovich and DiSalle,*fn* JJ.

Author: Hester

[ 294 Pa. Super. Page 546]

This is an appeal from a judgment of sentence and a fine of $3,900.00 imposed upon the appellant, following a finding that the appellant was guilty of operating a vehicle exceeding the maximum permissible weights prescribed by the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, Act of June 17, 1976, P.L. 162, No. 81, as amended, 75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4941 et seq. Appellant was originally found guilty of this summary offense before a District Magistrate, which was affirmed, following a de novo hearing before the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County.

On January 16, 1980 at 11:55 a. m., Officer John R. Golbreski, a patrolman of the Upper Merion Township Police Department, observed the appellant operating a GMC truck tractor with a Fontaine trailer proceeding Eastbound on the Schuylkill Expressway (Interstate 76). According to Officer Golbreski, the tractor was straining, and the tires of the trailer were "ballooning". Officer Golbreski stopped the tractor-trailer on Interstate 76, Eastbound lane, near the Route 202 exit.

Upon request, appellant furnished Officer Golbreski his bill of lading, which indicated that appellant was hauling a load weighing 58,800 pounds. Appellant was hauling this load, as an independent contractor, for Kreitz Motor Express, a specialized carrier of oversized loads by motor truck. Appellant's trip was from Penn Iron Works in Reading to Warner Swazey Company in King of Prussia. Appellant was paid approximately $300.00 for this trip.

It is undisputed that the load included four pieces of heavy equipment, which were apparently unfinished parts of furnaces known as weldments.

Officer Golbreski directed appellant to follow him to the Township scales where the vehicle was weighed. It is undisputed that the gross weight of the vehicle was 88,340 pounds. On the basis of this weighing, Officer Golbreski issued a citation assessing a fine of $3,900.00 pursuant to the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4945(a).

[ 294 Pa. Super. Page 547]

On the day following the issuance of the citation, Kreitz Motor Express produced a permit for appellant's load which purported to authorize the operation of the vehicle at a weight of 90,000 pounds. It is undisputed that said permit was improperly issued, or was issued on the basis of false information, due to the fact that the load in question was divisible. Under the circumstances relevant to this case, the Vehicle Code authorizes a special permit for hauling a load in excess of the maximum weight requirement only if the load is "non divisible". 75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4961(a)(2). It is also undisputed that the appellant did not comply with the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4962(b), which states, "Display of permit -- Every permit shall be carried in the towing vehicle and shall be open to inspection by any police officer or authorized agent of the issuing agency or any person having an accident involving a permitted vehicle or combination."

Appellant contends that, due to the fact that a special permit had been issued to Kreitz, authorizing a weight up to 90,000 pounds, Subchapter C of Chapter 49 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4941 et seq., is inapplicable. Appellant admits violating Subchapter D of Chapter 49 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4961 et seq., since the load in question was ...


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