Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in the case of In Re: Appeal of Officer William Leis from the Order of the Lower Merion Township Civil Service Commission, No. 78-15676.
Thomas J. Burk, with him Mark H. Jaffe, Haws & Burke, for appellant.
Parker H. Wilson, Wilson, Oehrle, Drayer & Furber, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Williams, Jr. and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
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This is an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County dismissing the appeal of Officer William Leis (Appellant) from the decision of the Civil Service Commission of Lower
[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 106]
Merion Township (Civil Service Commission) which sustained a suspension imposed on Appellant by the superintendent of police and the Board of Commissioners of Lower Merion Township (Commissioners).
Appellant was a ten-year veteran of the Lower Merion Township Police Department (Department) when he became involved in a vehicular accident. At approximately 12:10 a.m. on May 14, 1978, Appellant received an emergency call involving multiple injuries while he was operating a police emergency vehicle in a westerly direction on Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore. Appellant immediately engaged the vehicle's emergency lights, but did not turn on the siren. Continuing west on Lancaster Avenue, Appellant observed that a red traffic signal had stopped traffic in both directions on Lancaster Avenue at the intersection of Woodside Road. As Appellant approached this intersection, he reduced the speed of his vehicle to about 20 m.p.h. and directed the vehicle into an eastbound (oncoming) lane in order to pass vehicles stopped at the traffic light in the westbound lanes of Lancaster Avenue. After Appellant had determined that no vehicles were about to enter the intersection from Woodside Road, he proceeded to return to a westbound lane while entering the intersection. Due to a delayed green signal for traffic in the westbound lanes, however, traffic in the eastbound lane had the benefit of a left turn arrow. A vehicle in an eastbound lane, operated by a sixteen-year-old student, entered the intersection with a green arrow signal. Before this vehicle completed a left turn onto Woodside Road, it was struck on the right rear side by Appellant's vehicle.
Following an investigation by the Department, it was recommended that Appellant be suspended, without pay, for three days. The Commissioners accepted the recommendation and ordered that Appellant be suspended from the Department. Appellant
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appealed the order of the Commissioners, and following a hearing, the Civil Service Commission upheld the three-day suspension. After oral argument, the court of common pleas dismissed Appellant's appeal. This appeal followed.
Since the court below did not receive any additional evidence or testimony, our scope of review is limited to determining whether the Civil Service Commission abused its discretion or committed an error of law. Borough of Darby v. Coleman, 47 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 9, 407 A.2d 468 (1979). The suspension of Appellant is controlled by ...