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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Keith Alan Busser

October 18, 2012

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
APPELLANT
v.
KEITH ALAN BUSSER, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order entered August 15, 2011, Court of Common Pleas, York County, Criminal Division at No. CP-67-CR-0002056-2011

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

J-A16034-12

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., DONOHUE and ALLEN, JJ.

OPINION BY DONOHUE, J.:

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appeals from the trial court's August 15, 2011 order granting the motion to suppress evidence filed by Appellee, Keith Allen Busser ("Busser"). We reverse.

On December 10, 2010, [Busser] was traveling southbound on North George Street near the intersection of Arch Street in the city of York. Officer [Kyle Pitts ('Officer Pitts')] of the York City Police Department was traveling directly behind [Busser]. Officer Pitts testified that they were in the easternmost lane of N. George St., which at that location consists of two lanes traveling south and two lanes traveling north. An ambulance approached using its emergency lights and signals traveling northbound. Officer Pitts testified that the ambulance was in the centermost lane of that side of the roadway.

Officer Pitts testified that he was able to safely pull his vehicle to the right hand lane when the ambulance approached from the opposite direction. Additionally he testified that [Busser] did not attempt to move to the right or signal that he was going to move to the right in any way. However, he also testified that [Busser's] vehicle posed no danger to the approaching ambulance or otherwise obstructed its movement.

After the ambulance passed, Officer Pitts signaled for [Busser] to pull over. [Busser] complied. Officer Pitts intended to cite [Busser] for a violation of 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3325 for failing to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle. Upon approaching the vehicle, Officer Pitts smelled alcohol and ultimately, after submitting to a blood alcohol test, [Busser] was charged with two different counts of DUI.

Trial Court Opinion and Order, 8/15/11, at 1-2 (record citations omitted).

The Commonwealth charged Busser with driving under the influence of alcohol, general impairment (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3802(a)(1)) driving under the influence of alcohol, highest rate of alcohol (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3802(c)), and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3325). Busser filed a motion to suppress evidence arguing that Officer Pitts conducted an illegal vehicle stop. The trial court conducted a hearing on June 27, 2011, and on

August 15, 2011, the trial court granted Busser's motion.

The Commonwealth filed this timely appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 311(d).

On appeal, the Commonwealth argues that the trial court misinterpreted ยง 3325, and that the trial court erred in finding that Officer Busser needed probable cause in order to conduct a vehicle stop pursuant to that section. ...


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