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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Nicolle Margot Tarrach

April 9, 2012

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA APPELLEE
v.
NICOLLE MARGOT TARRACH APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of September 27, 2011 In the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-06-CR-0004023-2009

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wecht, J.

J-S19044-12

BEFORE: STEVENS, P.J., LAZARUS and WECHT, JJ.

OPINION BY WECHT, J.

Nicolle M. Tarrach ["Appellant"] appeals from the judgment of sentence entered September 27, 2011. We affirm.

The trial court summarized the facts as follows:

On April 30, 2009, at approximately 4:03 p.m., Officer Chad Vargo of the South Heidelberg Township Police Department was dispatched to the area of Penn Avenue at the intersection of Green Valley Road in South Heidelberg Township, Berks County, PA, for a two vehicle crash. Upon arrival, Officer Vargo made contact with the drivers of both vehicles involved in the crash.

Constantine Pappas ("Mr. Pappas"), the victim and driver of the vehicle that was struck by [Appellant]'s vehicle, testified that immediately after the collision he observed [Appellant] approach his vehicle with an unsteady gait. He further testified that [Appellant]'s eyes were glassy and that her speech was slurred.

Officer Vargo testified that upon making contact with [Appellant], who was the driver of the striking vehicle, he also observed her to have an unsteady gait. [Appellant]

subsequently refused medical treatment. [Appellant] informed

Officer Vargo that she had consumed prescription drugs earlier that day. Based on his training and experience, along with his observations of [Appellant]'s appearance, speech, and gait,

Officer Vargo believed that [Appellant] may have been under the influence of drugs to a degree which rendered her incapable of safely driving. Officer Vargo administered a series of standard field sobriety tests (hereinafter "SFSTs") on [Appellant]. Officer Vargo testified that [Appellant] failed the SFSTs and that she exhibited signs of drug intoxication through the SFSTs. At that time, Officer Vargo placed [Appellant] under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence. [Appellant] was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital for her blood to be drawn.

Dr. Laura Labay, a board certified forensic toxicologist, testified as to the results of the toxicology testing performed on blood samples collected from [Appellant] on April 30, 2009. At trial, Dr. Labay testified that the first toxicology detected Alprazolam, a benzodiazepine that's called Xanax, at a concentration of twenty-nine (29) nanograms per milliliter. Additionally, Dr. Labay testified that a subsequent toxicology report detected Amphetamine at a concentration of one-hundred and fifty (150) nanograms per milliliter, Citalopram at a concentration of three hundred and twenty (320) nanograms per milliliter, Hydroxyzine at a concentration of fifty-eight (58) nanograms per milliliter, Oxycodone at a concentration of ninety-two (92) nanograms per milliliter, and Topitamate at a concentration of fifteen (15)

micrograms per milliliter. Dr. Labay further testified that the aforementioned drugs are all prescription drugs. Lastly, Dr. Labay testified that although the level of drugs in [Appellant]'s system on the date in question may have been within the therapeutic range, it was her professional opinion that due to the adverse effects of some of said drugs, ...


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