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The People v. David Forkner

January 27, 2011


(Super. Ct. No. T090377F)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robie ,j.

P. v. Forkner CA3


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

A jury found defendant David Forkner guilty of driving with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others while fleeing from a peace officer (Veh. Code,*fn1 § 2800.2, subd. (a)) and three misdemeanor counts of resisting a peace officer (Pen. Code, § 148, subd. (a)). The trial court suspended imposition of sentence and placed defendant on three years of supervised probation with various terms and conditions.

On appeal, defendant argues that insufficient evidence supports his conviction of fleeing from a peace officer. We reject the contention and affirm the judgment.


During the early morning hours of April 2, 2009, Christopher Peeden was working as a California Department of Food and Agriculture inspector at the Truckee Border Protection Station on Interstate 80 (the highway). A blue Ford pickup truck pulled into the station. Peeden asked defendant, the sole occupant of the vehicle, where he was coming from. Defendant did not answer but instead stared at the ceiling that covered the car lanes. Peeden again inquired about where defendant had come from. Defendant still did not answer. Instead, he offered his driver's license. Peeden observed "an array of pills scattered across the dashboard." Peeden asked defendant whether he was "okay to drive [his] vehicle." Defendant gave no response.

Because of defendant's odd behavior, Peeden told defendant to pull into an adjacent parking lot for inspection. Defendant did not acknowledge the instruction. He proceeded to drive away from the inspection station at approximately 30 to 35 miles per hour. Peeden found this unusual because drivers usually accelerate to freeway speeds after they exit the inspection station. Peeden called 911 and gave descriptions of defendant and his vehicle.

Nevada County Sheriff's Deputy Russell Greene responded to a broadcast to be on the lookout for a possibly intoxicated driver; the broadcast included the description of defendant and his truck. Shortly after Deputy Greene pulled his marked patrol vehicle onto the highway, he spotted defendant's truck going in the opposite direction. Deputy Greene took the next exit and got back on the highway going in the same direction as defendant's truck.

When Deputy Greene caught up to the truck, he confirmed that its license plate matched that given in the police broadcast. The deputy activated the patrol vehicle's emergency lights, including a solid red light visible from the front, and a siren to initiate a traffic stop. Defendant continued traveling westbound on the highway at about 30 miles per hour on the right shoulder of the pavement. For several miles, defendant continued to drive on the shoulder and in the right-hand lane at speeds ranging from 30 to 40 miles an hour. Defendant did not exceed the posted speed limit.

Additional units of the California Highway Patrol joined in following defendant's truck. The truck's speed gradually increased to 65 miles per hour as it approached Boreal Ridge Road. The truck suddenly exited the highway by turning onto the Castle Peak/Boreal Ridge exit. The truck abruptly slowed to approximately 20 to 25 miles per hour before going through a blind intersection without stopping. California Highway Patrol Officer Gavin Graham was following immediately behind the truck and thought that defendant was planning to re-enter the highway by taking a nearby on-ramp. Instead, the truck came to a stop.

The officers initiated a felony stop by surrounding defendant's vehicle with weapons drawn and instructions given over the public address system of one of the patrol vehicles. One of the officers instructed defendant to turn off the truck, place his hands in the air, and exit the vehicle. Defendant placed his hands in the air while holding onto a coffee cup.

The officers loudly and repeatedly instructed defendant to exit the truck. Defendant mumbled something about the door not working. Defendant appeared to be "extremely dazed." Several officers approached the vehicle. One of them shattered the passenger side window and opened the door. Defendant had a blanket across his lap, which the officers removed. Officer ...

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