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filed: February 16, 1988.


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Juvenile at No. 334 Juvenile 1986.


Ken Gormley, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Wieand, Montemuro and Popovich, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 371 Pa. Super. Page 382]

Robert M. Hyduke, a seventeen (17) year old juvenile, appeals from the judgment of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County entered on March 25, 1987. Appellant was adjudicated delinquent on two (2) counts of homicide by vehicle and placed on probation for a period of eighteen (18) months. In addition, the court directed appellant to: (1) pay the costs of the proceedings; (2) refrain from all violations of the law; (3) comply with the regulations of the Westmoreland County Juvenile Service Center; (4) perform seventy (70) hours of community service; (5) enter and complete an alcohol safe driving program, and; (6) pay a fine of $500 within a period of five (5) months. We affirm.

[ 371 Pa. Super. Page 383]

The events of this tragic story began on June 21, 1986. Appellant, then seventeen (17), met his friend Brian Aikins at about 10 p.m. They went in separate vehicles to a party located in Kingston, Pennsylvania. During appellant's one hour stay at the party he consumed two cups of beer, before beginning the drive home. Aikins left the party at the same time, taking a fifteen (15) year old girl named Adrienne Angell with him in his vehicle. Appellant pulled out from the party first, but Aikins' vehicle passed him shortly after his departure. When appellant arrived at the stop-light at Route 981, he observed the Aikins vehicle stopped in a parking lot. Appellant pulled into the lot and found Aikins standing outside his vehicle with Adrienne Angell still inside. Aikins informed appellant to go on ahead and that he would see him later. Appellant left the parking lot and traveled North on Route 981, a two lane asphalt road, towards his home in New Alexandria. The weather conditions were clear and dry and the posted speed limit on Route 981 was fifty five (55) miles per hour. Appellant was unable to recall the events following the time he began to travel North on route 981, but the trial court, through the aid of accident reconstruction experts and various other witnesses, formulated the following scenario:

Approximately one and one-half miles before reaching New Alexandria, Route 981, which is generally a level and straight road, begins a gradual right-hand curve and a slight down grade. The juvenile/appellant lost control of his automobile, crossed the center lane and into the southbound lane of traffic. The juvenile crossed over the southbound lane onto the berm and his car turned sideways colliding with a utility pole broadside. The distance when the juvenile/appellant's vehicle entered the berm until it struck the utility pole broadside was 220 feet. The juvenile's automobile sheared off the top of the utility pole and then his car rotated counter-clockwise and then traveled approximately 153 feet into a four feet deep fifteen feet wide gully. When the car hit the gully it catapulted into the air and came to rest on the side of the road at a distance of 168 feet from the utility pole. Upon

[ 371 Pa. Super. Page 384]

    the impact with the gully and the impact with the ground, the juvenile was thrown out of the car window. A copy of the Pennsylvania State Police Officer's drawing of the scene that was admitted into evidence is attached to this opinion to clarify the various vehicles involved and the relevant points.

A truck driven by Mario Venzin with his family was traveling South on Route 981. Venzin saw the juvenile/appellant sliding towards his truck in the south lane. Venzin swerved into the northbound lane narrowly missing the juvenile defendant and then returned his truck to the southbound lane. An automobile driven by Timothy Shearer was behind the Venzin truck in the southbound lane. Shearer was traveling approximately forty miles per hour. When the juvenile/appellant sheared off the utility pole, the pole fell into and across the highway. Shearer had no time to react before his car hit the utility pole, and upon striking the same he was carried along the utility pole into the northbound lane where his vehicle came to a rest.

Brian Aikins, who was following the juvenile/appellant operating his vehicle in a northerly direction (the same direction as the juvenile/appellant) applied his brakes and left 128 feet of skid marks up to the point where the Aikins' vehicle struck Shearer's vehicle. As a result of the collision between the Shearer and Aikins' vehicles, both Brian Aikins and Adrienne Angell were killed.

Appellant was charged with two (2) counts of homicide by vehicle,*fn1 based on citations issued him for failure to drive on the right side of the roadway,*fn2 and for failure to drive at a safe speed.*fn3 The trial court adjudicated appellant delinquent on both counts of homicide by vehicle and sentenced him to serve a period of eighteen (18) ...

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