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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOAN D. ZANKOWSKI (08/24/88)

filed: August 24, 1988.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOAN D. ZANKOWSKI, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. S.A. 538 of 1987.

COUNSEL

John F. Hooper, III, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Debra B. Barnisin, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Com., appellee.

Brosky, Johnson and Melinson, JJ. Melinson, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Brosky

[ 377 Pa. Super. Page 257]

This appeal is taken from the judgment of sentence imposed after a trial de novo for violation of 75 Pa.C.S.A. ยง 3445(a) (meeting or overtaking a school bus).

Appellant's challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is dual-pronged: First, she alleges that the evidence does not support a finding that the red signal lights viewed from her lane of traffic were activated at the time she passed the school bus; secondly, she argues that the evidence fails to show that her position in the lane of traffic in which she was traveling did not permit her to observe whether the red signal lights of the school bus were flashing as she passed the bus. We affirm.

[ 377 Pa. Super. Page 258]

The factual scenario giving rise to this matter now before us is brief and uncomplicated: Officer Herron of the City of Pittsburgh Police Department testified at the de novo proceeding that as he was traveling in the southbound lane of Brownsville Road in Pittsburgh, he first observed a school bus parked on the northbound side of the road signaling front red flashing lights. Only moments later, he saw appellant pass the school bus on the northbound side of the road. The Officer's testimony related that the red signal lights were still flashing when appellant passed the bus without first stopping or slackening her speed.

Appellant, on the other hand, testified that as she headed down the northbound lane of Brownsville Road, her view of the school bus, insofar as her ability to observe any flashing lights thereon, was impeded by a van parked to the rear of the bus. She further testified that she first checked to determine whether the rear signal lights were flashing but, when she did not see any, she drove past the bus, whereupon she was stopped by Officer Herron and charged with the subject violation.

Thus, appellant's argument is two-fold: First, she asserts that the lights on the bus were not activated at all or, alternatively, that the driver chose to activate only the front lights which she could not see. Secondly, she claims that from her vantage point on the road, her view of the bus where the rear signal lights are located was obstructed by a van parked to the rear of the school bus. She contends that the Commonwealth has not succeeded in carrying its burden of proof that the rear signal lights were flashing red and that she passed the school bus while the subject rear lights were activated.

The test employed by the courts of this Commonwealth for determining the sufficiency of the evidence is whether, considering all the evidence admitted at trial and all reasonable inferences derived therefrom, when viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as the verdict winner, the trier of fact, here the de ...


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