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“Oh, really?” DUI
by Ron Davis
A Pennsylvania shopping center was the recent scene of an unusual motor vehicle accident.
The shopping center is Crafton-Ingram in Ingram Borough. And the accident baffled local police after shopping center personnel called them to the scene to investigate. First, they discovered that the automobile was unoccupied. The investigation also disclosed that the vehicle had crashed into a concrete pillar during the previous night. They also noted that the vehicle was registered to a woman who lived only a few blocks from the shopping center.
The officers then visited the driver’s home, primarily to check on the driver’s welfare. A woman greeted them at the door and invited them to enter the house. Once inside, they were met by the apparent driver of the wrecked car. The officers noted that she was unsteady on her feet and had glassy and bloodshot eyes. Moreover, the officers detected the smell of alcoholic beverages and asked if she had been drinking (which she denied).
But she did admit that she earlier that evening had consumed alcoholic drinks with friends at a bar located in the Crafton-Ingram Shopping Center. She added, however, that her mother drove her home from the bar (though her mother denied receiving any calls to drive her daughter home from the shopping center).
That explanation was also contrary to the findings of the investigating officers. One officer, for example, said he had driven through the shopping center at 3:00 a.m. and did not see a wrecked vehicle (meaning that the woman’s car accident occurred after she left the bar at a very later time).
The investigating police arrested her, and a Pennsylvania court sentenced her to serve “a restrictive intermediate punishment.” That sentence required that she undergo a drug and alcohol “evaluation,” pay a fine of $750, and attend a highway-patrol-sponsored safe-driving school.
Also, at her trial, police representatives said they were baffled by her explanations and reactions to further questions. For example, one investigator said she appeared unalarmed when told that her automobile was totaled in the shopping center parking lot. She reportedly responded to that information by saying “Oh, really?”
The Pennsylvania appellate court stated, “Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth of this state as the verdict winner, we conclude the circumstantial evidence was sufficient to sustain a DUI conviction. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of her sentence.”
(Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Rebecca Lynn Dixon, Appellant, No. 731 WDA 2015, Filed June 9, 2016)
Decision: June 2016
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