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Walkden v. Commonwealth

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

November 6, 2014

John Louis Walkden, Appellant
v.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing

Submitted July 3, 2014

Page 433

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 434

Appealed from No. 2013-SU-003425-27. Common Pleas Court of the County of York. Chronister, Senior Judge.

John Louis Walkden, Pro se.

Terrance M. Edwards, Assistant Counsel, Harrisburg, for appellee.

BEFORE: HONORABLE RENÉ E COHN JUBELIRER, Judge, HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Judge, HONORABLE JAMES GARDNER COLINS, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 435

COLINS, SENIOR JUDGE

John Louis Walkden (Licensee) appeals, pro se, from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County (Trial Court) denying his appeal from a one-year suspension of his driver's license imposed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing (Department) for refusal of chemical testing in violation of Section 1547 of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1547, commonly referred to as the Implied Consent Law. We affirm.

On August 14, 2013, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Crystal Dugan was dispatched for a disturbance call from the owner of the Peach Bottom Inn in Peach Bottom Township, Pennsylvania reporting that a white Jeep had almost run him over in the parking lot of the Inn and the driver of the vehicle, who appeared to be intoxicated, cursed at him. (Jan. 22, 2014 Hearing Transcript (H.T.) at 4, 15.) Trooper Dugan located a vehicle matching this description in the parking lot and spoke with the occupant of the vehicle, Licensee, who slurred his speech, had difficulty responding to questions and could not locate his license. ( Id. at 4-6.) Licensee told Trooper Dugan that he was not sure where he was or how he had arrived there, but he responded in the affirmative when asked if he had driven to his present location. ( Id. at 6.) Trooper Dugan detected the odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle and noticed an open bottle of vodka in the passenger area of the vehicle. ( Id. at 5, 7-8, 14.)

Trooper Dugan asked Licensee to step out of the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests, however Licensee needed assistance to exit the vehicle and once on his feet was unable to perform the tests. ( Id. at 6-7.) Trooper Dugan then placed Licensee in custody and transported him to York Hospital for chemical testing. ( Id. at 7-9.) Trooper Dugan read the DL-26 Implied Consent Warning Form twice to Licensee advising him that failure to consent to testing would result in suspension of his driving privileges and asked him to provide a blood sample for testing. ( Id. at 9-10; Hearing Ex. C-1, DL-26 Form.) Licensee refused to submit to blood testing or sign the DL-26 Form and instead requested that his handcuffs be taken off. (H.T. at ...


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