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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DENNIS E. KING (04/30/82)

filed: April 30, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
DENNIS E. KING, APPELLANT



No. 2393 October Term, 1979, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Centre County, at No. 31 of 1979.

COUNSEL

H. Amos Goodall, Jr., Bellefonte, for appellant.

David E. Grine, District Attorney, Bellefonte, did not file a brief on behalf of Commonwealth, appellee.

Price, Wickersham and Lipez, JJ.

Author: Wickersham

[ 298 Pa. Super. Page 500]

On April 11, 1979, appellant, Dennis E. King, was convicted by a jury of homicide by vehicle. Post-verdict motions were denied and appellant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three to twenty-three months. On appeal, appellant alleges that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the conviction. He also argues that section 3732 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. ยง 3732, is unconstitutional. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of sentence.

The test for passing on the sufficiency of the evidence is whether, accepting as true all the evidence, together with all reasonable inferences therefrom, upon which the jury could have based its verdict, such evidence and inferences are sufficient in law to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Commonwealth v. Ilgenfritz, 466 Pa. 345, 348, 353 A.2d 387, 389 (1976); Commonwealth v. Carbonetto, 455 Pa. 93, 95, 314 A.2d 304, 305 (1974). In addition, we are required to consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as the verdict winner. Commonwealth v. Ilgenfritz, supra; Commonwealth v. Green, 464 Pa. 557, 565, 347 A.2d 682, 686 (1975). Applying these standards, the evidence in the instant case was clearly sufficient to sustain the conviction.

In the early morning hours of December 16, 1978, appellant was operating a vehicle which was occupied by himself and five passengers. At the time of the accident, the automobile was on a two lane highway. It was a clear night and the highway was dry. Approximately one-half mile before the accident occurred, a passenger in the automobile observed the vehicle speedometer at 85 miles per hour. At a distance of approximately 2/10 of a mile from where the accident occurred, the automobile swerved and drove into the right berm of the highway when it failed to negotiate a slight curve. Appellant then managed to return the automobile to the highway but was never able to regain complete control of the car. The automobile then skidded across the road a distance of fifty feet and then went onto the left berm of the road for a distance of ninety-five feet before it

[ 298 Pa. Super. Page 501]

    struck a speed limit sign and a guard post. The vehicle then became airborne after going off an eight foot embankment and bounced once before it came to rest on its roof approximately 105 feet from the embankment. One passenger was killed in the accident when his body was thrown an additional 69 feet. After the accident occurred, Trooper James C. Clouse, Pennsylvania State Police, testified that he interviewed appellant concerning the accident and that appellant stated that, "he was going a little bit too fast and lost control of his vehicle . . . ." Record at 93.

A person is guilty of homicide by vehicle if he:

[U]nintentionally causes the death of another person while engaged in the violation of any law of this Commonwealth or municipal ordinance applying to the operation or use of a vehicle or to the regulation of ...


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