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JOYCEANN MARIE WOODS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/23/88)

decided: May 23, 1988.

JOYCEANN MARIE WOODS, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Joyceann Marie Woods, No. 228-1987.

COUNSEL

J. Richard Gray, Windolph, Burkholder, Stainton and Gray, for appellant.

Christopher J. Clements, Assistant Counsel, with him, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Chief Counsel, John L. Heaton, Chief Counsel, for appellee.

Judges Doyle and McGinley, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 295]

Before this Court is the appeal of Joyceann Marie Woods (Appellant) who appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County upholding the Department of Transportation's (DOT) suspension of her driving privileges for one year pursuant to Section 1547(b) of the Vehicle Code (Code), 75 Pa. C. S. ยง 1547(b). We reverse.

The trial court found that on December 16, 1986, Officer Jeffrey Stankard (Officer Stankard) was dispatched to investigate a single vehicle collision. At the scene of the accident, Officer Stankard encountered Appellant behind the wheel of a vehicle that had left the roadway and crashed into a telephone pole. Officer Stankard testified that Appellant smelled strongly of alcohol, and when she left her vehicle, she walked with a staggering gait. Observing that Appellant had lacerations on her head, Officer Stankard gave her a piece of gauze and radioed to see if an ambulance was en route. He then followed the ambulance to the hospital for the purpose of requesting that Appellant submit to a blood alcohol test.

We continue the narrative from the opinion of the trial court:

Ms. Woods was in a bed at the emergency department of the hospital in an open area with a number of beds and curtains around. The doctor told Officer Stankard he could not interview Ms. Woods, who was refusing any kind of treatment. She would not let attendants take her blood pressure, she would not sign any forms and was generally pretty hostile to hospital employees.

[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 296]

Office Stankard did ask her to submit to a blood test as aforesaid but she refused.

Officer Stankard also testified that he never placed her under arrest at the scene or at the hospital, nor did he ever indicate that she could not leave. He never attempted to restrict her freedom although as a matter of fact, Ms. Woods never attempted to get up and leave.

The trial court dismissed Appellant's appeal holding that under the facts of the instant matter, there was no need for Officer Stankard to make a formal declaration of arrest or to ...


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