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Commonwealth v. Moyer

436 Pa. Super. 442 (1994)

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Commonwealth v. Moyer

Pennsylvania Superior Court

436 Pa. Super. 442 (1994)

Facts

Peter David Moyer (defendant) was operating a watercraft on a river at a speed of 25 miles per hour. Eric Hennigh was driving a jet ski at the same speed about 40 feet to the right of Moyer. Along the waterway, several swimmers had gathered on a trestle. As Hennigh neared the trestle, a swimmer swung a long stick at him, causing him to lose control of the jet ski. Hennigh’s jet ski veered into the path of Moyer’s watercraft, and a collision resulted. Hennigh died from injuries sustained in the collision. Moyer submitted to a breathalyzer test and was found to be under the influence of alcohol. Moyer was charged with the offenses of involuntary manslaughter and operating a watercraft while under the influence. At trial, an eyewitness testified that there was nothing Moyer could have done to avoid hitting Hennigh because the jet ski had crossed the watercraft’s path within a split second. A magistrate found that the prosecution had established a prima facie case for the offenses of involuntary manslaughter and operating a watercraft under the influence. Moyer petitioned the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas for habeas corpus. The petition was dismissed. Moyer appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hester, J.)

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