No. 1425 Pittsburgh 1982, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, Criminal Division at No. C.A. 152 of 1982.
Paul S. Foreman, Altoona, for appellant.
Phillip D. Johns, Assistant District Attorney, Hollidaysburg, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Popovich, Hoffman and Lipez, JJ. Lipez, J., concurred in the result.
[ 329 Pa. Super. Page 277]
This is an appeal from a judgment of sentence of 6 to 23 1/2 months imprisonment, imposed by the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County (per Judge Behrens) following a bench trial in which the appellant, Richard Henck, was found guilty of Recklessly Endangering Another Person.*fn1 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2705. We affirm.
The facts, viewed in a light most favorable to the verdictwinner, consist of the following: On February 27, 1982, at 8:27 p.m., Lieutenant Fred W. Schmidhammer was parked in the lot of the Central Pennsylvania National Bank, which is situated at the intersection of 16th Street and Third Avenue in the Borough of Duncansville, Blair County. He observed the appellant driving north on 17th Street and straight through the Third Avenue intersection. Because the intersection is regulated by numerous traffic control devices, which prohibit any kind of movement "other than a right turn," (N.T. 8/19/82 at 11), when the appellant drove "straight across" the intersection, Lieutenant Schmidhammer pursued with lights and siren operating.
Appellant came to a stop in the Dairy Queen driveway and was asked by the officer to produce a license, registration and proof of no-fault insurance. Appellant was not able to produce any such identification, and, despite his protestation that "he was in a hurry to go to the hospital because his baby was" there (N.T. 8/19/82 at 13), the officer informed him that he would have to remain in the vehicle until the operator's status was checked with head-quarters.
[ 329 Pa. Super. Page 278]
After the officer went back into his automobile, "the defendant put his car in gear and proceeded to move away." (N.T. 8/19/82 at 14) In particular, the officer testified that:
As just recounted by the officer, when the appellant drove south on 16th Street, he drove through an intersection controlled by a stop sign. In doing so, appellant "drove in front of" several vehicles coming off of a roadway controlled by a light, known as the Duncansville intersection -- which is a point in the highway located before the intersection of 16th Street and Third Avenue. However, there were several vehicles traveling east on Third Avenue, while a few were approaching the intersection from the opposite direction, i.e., west bound. As the officer recalls the scene:
Two vehicles had to stop that were headed east bound. The first, what I would call the lead vehicle, which would be closest to Mr. Henck's vehicle braked very rapidly. The second vehicle behind braked very rapidly, just narrowly missing a rear-end collision at that point in time. (N.T. 8/19/82 at 15)
Furthermore, on cross-examination, the officer indicated that when the appellant drove through the stop-sign-controlled-intersection, if the appellant had been traveling any slower "there would have been a collision." (N.T. 8/19/82 at 24) Even so, it was but a "narrow miss" that an accident did not occur, for when the first vehicle applied ...