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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CLARENCE CASTERLIN (12/05/84)

filed: December 5, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
CLARENCE CASTERLIN, APPELLANT



No. 953 Philadelphia, 1983, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of March 30, 1983 in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, No. 82 CR. 668, Criminal Div.

COUNSEL

Joseph F. Saporito, Pittston, for appellant.

James J. Walker, Assistant District Attorney, Scranton, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cirillo, Montemuro and Cercone, JJ. Montemuro, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

Author: Cercone

[ 336 Pa. Super. Page 172]

Appellant Clarence Casterlin appealed his summary conviction and fine of $100 plus costs by a district magistrate for a violation of 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4903, Securing loads in vehicles. After a trial de novo, this conviction was affirmed. We reverse.

The pertinent section of the Vehicle Code is:

§ 4903. Securing loads in vehicles

(a) General rule. -- No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent any of its load from dropping, shifting, leaking or otherwise escaping.

(b) Fastening load. -- Every load on a vehicle shall be fastened so as to prevent the load or covering from becoming loose, detached or in any manner a hazard to other users of the highway.

Appellant's contention is that the trial court interpreted the requirement of subsection (b) too broadly. He urges that it provides only that a load shall be fastened so as to prevent it from becoming a hazard to other users of the highway. To hold that the statute requires every load to be secured by a tarp or other covering would be a distortion of the meaning of the statute, claims appellant. We agree.

It was established by the evidence at the hearing that appellant worked for Airport Sand and Gravel. On the day he was stopped by the police officer he was hauling approximately twelve tons of wet sand in a fourteen wheel dump truck which had a weight capacity of twenty-two and one-half tons. He was taking it to a swimming pool construction area where it was to be placed under the liner of the pool. It was uncontradicted that nothing was observed falling, spilling, or blowing off the truck and that the box of the truck was enclosed except for an open top. The box was approximately half filled. The ...


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