No. 3061 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division-Criminal Section, of Philadelphia County at Nos. 543 and 544 June Term 1980.
Allan M. Tabas, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Stuart L. Haimowitz, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Wickersham, McEwen and Lipez, JJ.
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On June 16, 1981, appellant Steven Bulard appeared before the Honorable Herbert R. Cain, Jr., charged with the theft of a vehicle as well as unauthorized use of such vehicle, and waived a jury trial. The court found Bulard guilty of both charges. On November 19, 1981, Judge Cain sentenced Bulard on Bill No. 543 June Session 1980, theft by unlawful taking or disposition, to a term of imprisonment of not less than eleven and one-half months nor more than twenty-three months in the county prison. Sentence was suspended on the remaining conviction and this direct appeal was taken.*fn1
The thrust of the Commonwealth case at trial was provided by Officer John Terry of the Philadelphia Police Department who testified that on the afternoon of May 30, 1980, he
[ 305 Pa. Super. Page 504]
was travelling in a police vehicle on Champlost Street when he observed a red Chevrolet coming eastbound, towards him, operated by Steven Bulard. Officer Terry made a u-turn and began to follow the red Chevrolet as it went through a red light at Ogontz and Champlost. Next the red Chevrolet ran into the back of a parked vehicle on the corner; two people got out of the car and ran. Officer Terry then chased the operator of the car, whom he had identified as appellant Bulard, approximately thirty-five or forty feet into an alley where he apprehended him. The officer later determined that the vehicle was stolen. Record at 8-13.
On cross-examination Officer Terry testified:
Q. Now, did you ever lose sight of him during this chase?
A. When he ran into the alley. He made the right turn into the main alley, then he went approximately two doorways and he made another right turn. At that point I lost sight of him, but it was a dead end. After he made the right he couldn't go any further. It just went into the back of a door and that was it.
Q. Were there any other people there?
The Commonwealth concluded by calling as a witness John Yoder who testified that he was the owner of the red 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and that he had parked his vehicle at 9:00 a.m. on May 30, 1980, on a parking lot at Park Avenue and Chew. He was later called by the police and identified his car, which had been damaged, about 4:00 o'clock that afternoon. He said he had never given authority to Steven Bulard to operate his vehicle.
The defendant testified at trial that on the afternoon in question he was standing near the intersection of Champlost and Ogontz, outside of a bar with five or six other people. He saw his friend Leroy Lawton and they talked. About
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this time he heard a large crash and a minute later two people ran past him. He saw a "cop chasing them."
A. Yes, there is a bar right there at the end of the driveway and I was standing beside it, by the door, beside the door.
Q. Were you the only one there, or were there other people?
A. There were about six or five other people there.
Q. What happened as you were standing there?
A. At that time I seen a friend of mine, that Leroy Lawton, he was coming down the driveway, and he had called my name, right, because he had a ...