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Caulfield Handles DUI, Drug Cases from Swissvale, Braddock Hills, Churchill

Also a felony theft case in this week's news from the courtroom of District Judge Thomas Caulfield in Forest Hills.

District Judge Thomas Caulfield handled three cases of driving under the influence, a felony retail theft and two drug-related cases in his courtroom in Forest Hills on Oct. 17.

  • Timeca A. Taylor, 30, of Swissvale waived her right to a preliminary hearing on charges of fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, driving under the influence (blood alcohol content .02 or greater, second offense), driving under the influence (high rate of alcohol, blood alcohol content .10 to .16, second offense), disregarding traffic lanes, driving at unsafe speed, reckless driving, restrictions on alcoholic beverages and two counts of failure to stop at a red signal. A Swissvale officer on patrol saw a Cadillac SUV traveling at a high rate of speed and crossing over the center line in the 1100 block of South Braddock Avenue on Oct. 5. The driver at first refused to stop, according to the criminal complaint, but then pulled over. The officer detected a strong odor of alcohol on Taylor, who was driving, and saw a half-empty bottle of cold beer in the center cup holder. Taylor registered a .140 and .143 on a breath analyzer test. Swissvale police filed the charges.
  • Anthony J. Combs, 47, of Homewood waived his right to a preliminary hearing on charges of driving under the influence (general impairment/incapable of driving safely, fourth offense and subsequent offenses), driving without a license, driving at an unsafe speed, careless driving, driving under the influence (highest rate of alcohol, blood alcohol content .16+, first offense), driving under the influence-controlled substance (schedule 2 or 3, first offense), driving under the influence-controlled substance (combination drugs and alcohol, first offense) and driving while blood alcohol content .02 or greater while license is suspended. According to a criminal complaint filed by Churchill police, Combs was traveling at a high rate of speed on William Penn Highway on Aug. 4. After stopping at the traffic light at Rodi Road, an officer observed Combs quickly accelerate to 50 mph. The officer checked the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) and found that Combs' driver's license had expired and was suspended because of driving under the influence. After initiating a stop at the corner of McCrady Road, the officer detected the odor of alcohol and noted that Combs showed other signs of intoxication. The complaint states that Combs admitted to drinking at a party. He failed a portable breath test and was taken to Forbes Regional Hospital for a blood alcohol test. Churchill police also filed the following charges, which were withdrawn in court: driving with a suspended or revoked license, obedience to traffic control devices and restrictions on alcoholic beverages.
  • John C. Davis, 53, of Penn Hills waived his right to a preliminary hearing  on charges of driving under the influence (general impairment/incapable of driving safely, fourth and subsequent offenses), vehicle registration suspended, refusal to surrender registration plates, driving without a license, driving while blood alcohol content is .02 or greater while license suspended, operating a vehicle without required financial responsibility and driving under the influence (high rate of alcohol, blood alcohol content .10 to .16, first offense). According to a criminal complaint filed by Braddock Hills police, an officer on patrol Oct. 9 ran a check of the license plate on the car driven by Davis, which indicated the insurance had been canceled. The officer initiated a traffic stop and detected the odor of alcohol on Davis. The officer also discovered that a warrant had been issued for Davis for a probation violation. A breath analyzer test registered a .118. A charge of driving under the influence (highest rate of alcohol, blood alcohol content .16+, fourth and subsequent offense) filed by Braddock Hills police was withdrawn.
  • Derick Summers, 54, of Braddock was held for court on a charge of felony retail theft-take merchandise filed by Braddock Hills police. An employee at Family Dollar in Braddock Hills Shopping Center called police on Sept. 30 to report that a shoplifter, later identified at Summers, had purchased an item but set off the metal detector as he left the store. When an employee checked a bag he was carrying, there were items he had not paid for, including an Aiwa speaker and two air freshener refills. According to the criminal complaint, Summers began to argue with the manager then left the store. He was apprehended in the shopping center by Braddock Hills police. Summers also had an outstanding warrant issued by Edgewood police on retail theft charges.
  • Catherine Clifford-Tolbart, 24, of Penn Hills waived her right to a preliminary hearing on charges of intentional possession of a controlled substance by a person not registered, possession of marijuana and use/possession of drug paraphernalia. According to a criminal complaint filed by Churchill police, an officer on patrol on Aug. 25 noticed a car swerving outside its lane, braking hard and accelerating rapidly on the Penn Hills exit off ramp from the Parkway East to Rodi Road. As he initiated a traffic stop, the officer observed the woman passenger making furtive movements under the seat and toward the floor. The officer used a public address system and ordered the occupants to cease movement and put their hands in sight. The driver complied but the woman, identified as Clifford-Tolbart, did not at first. Once removed from the car, both were frisked for guns but had none. A suspected bundle of heroin containing empty stamp bags fell from her shorts and Clifford-Tolbart then removed additional empty stamp bags. Inside the car, the officer found a hypodermic needle and many empty stamp bags in plain view, according to the complaint. A small amount of marijuana was recovered from the console. Police sent five stamp bags of suspected heroin to the crime lab for analysis.
  • Anita Rose Depalm, 24, of Acme, PA was held for court on charges of intentional possession of a controlled substance by a person not registered and use/possession of drug paraphernalia. According to a criminal complaint filed by Churchill police, an officer initiated a traffic stop on William Penn Highway eastbound at Beulah Road. He observed the back seat passenger making furtive movements. All three occupants of the car displayed signs of illegal narcotics use, fresh needle tracks and scarring on the forearms and hands, the officer reported. He observed a hypodermic needle cap in the front passenger seat armrest and an empty stamp bag in the center console. Two of the three occupants had heroin in their possession. Police recovered 59 stamp bags at the scene. The complaint states that Depalm admitted to possessing three bundles of suspected heroin, containing 25 stamp bags that were sent to the crime lab for analysis.

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