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PAUL K. WALDSPURGER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/13/87)

decided: January 13, 1987.

PAUL K. WALDSPURGER, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Paul K. Waldspurger, No. 84-17841.

COUNSEL

H. David Spirt, for appellant.

Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, with him, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Henry G. Barr, General Counsel, for appellee.

Judges Doyle and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 149]

Paul K. Waldspurger (Appellant) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County (trial court) which, after conducting a de novo hearing, affirmed the suspension of Appellant's motor

[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 150]

    vehicle operating privilege. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety (DOT) suspended Appellant's license for refusing to submit to a chemical analysis of his breath pursuant to Section 1547 of the Vehicle Code.*fn1 For the reasons which follow, we affirm.

On September 2, 1984, Appellant, his sister and her boyfriend were patrons at Mickey Kelly's West, a hotel and bar located in the village of Claussville, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Appellant testified that the boyfriend left the bar first and become embroiled in an altercation with five or six men in the parking lot. Upon exiting the bar, Appellant observed this situation and attempted to assist the boyfriend. Appellant testified that he did so by driving his car in circles around the parking lot so that when the boyfriend broke free, they could escape. In the course of doing this, Appellant hit a parked car.

Shortly thereafter, two Pennsylvania State Police Troopers arrived on the scene. They proceeded to separate Appellant and the boyfriend from the crowd. Trooper Hlavac testified that he walked Appellant over to his car and, while doing so, observed (1) the strong odor of alcohol about Appellant's person, (2) that Appellant walked with a staggered gait, (3) had a flushed face, and (4) was very loud and boisterous. Appellant admitted operating the vehicle involved in the accident.

Trooper Hlavac also spoke with two witnesses who told him that Appellant was driving erratically around the parking lot and had come close to striking several people. The trooper related these details to the trial court as neither witness was present to testify.

Subsequently, Trooper Hlavac placed Appellant under arrest for violating ...


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