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State v. Dantonio

Decided: May 27, 1954.


On appeal from municipal court.

Morris, J.c.c.


This is an appeal from the Municipal Court of the Borough of Milltown. It is here for trial de novo.

On February 2, 1954 Dominick Dantonio was operating a motor bus owned by the Quaker City Bus Company north on the New Jersey Turnpike. At about 6:40 P.M. at a point on said turnpike about three miles south of interchange No. 9, Dantonio was stopped and issued a summons charging him with a violation of N.J.S.A. 27:23-29, Regulation 1, speeding at 66 miles per hour, six miles per hour over the legal limit. The speeding charge was predicated on the reading of an electric speedmeter reading (commonly known as radar). Dantonio was tried in the Municipal Court of Milltown and found guilty.

At the time the bus was stopped and the summons issued, Trooper Armstrong, the arresting officer, was requested by the defendant to sign the chart of a tachograph, a mechanical speed recording device installed in the bus.

At the trial it was testified that Troopers Trpisovsky, Armstrong and Trainor were members of a radar team on

the New Jersey Turnpike. They had worked together as a radar team for approximately one year. Their duty was to set up the radar equipment along various points on the New Jersey Turnpike to check the speed of motor vehicles operating on said turnpike and to apprehend violators exceeding the speed limit of 60 miles per hour. On February 2, 1954, the day in question, the team was operating in the Borough of Milltown. The duties of the various members of the team on the day in question were as follows: Trooper Trpisovsky was operating the radar equipment, while Troopers Armstrong and Trainor were the intercepting officers stationed about a quarter of a mile north of the location of the radar equipment. It was the duty of Troopers Armstrong and Trainor to stop and apprehend motorists who exceeded the turnpike speed limits. Communication between the radar operator and the intercepting officers was maintained by radio.

Trooper Trpisovsky, the radar operator, testified in detail as to the equipment, the method of setting the equipment up for operation and the testing of same for accuracy. His testimony, and the testimony of Dr. Kopper, a radar and electronics expert, showed that the radar equipment was in a box that was placed on the rear of a station wagon. The radar box was placed facing oncoming traffic. The radar box consists of two antennas, one a sending or transmitting antenna, and one a receiving antenna. The receiving antenna is connected to an electric speedmeter and to a graph machine which graph machine makes a written record of each car passing within the scope of the radar equipment. The operating area of the equipment is several hundred feet, depending upon the height of the equipment and the angle on which it is placed along the road. When the power supply is connected, the machine is ready for testing and operation.

The testing of the equipment consists of zeroing the calibrating of the electrical and mechanical equipment, so that each piece of equipment is set exactly alike and records the speed of oncoming cars alike. The radar equipment is then

connected to the power supply and the electric tubes heated and tested until ready for operation. Before the actual operation is commenced, State Police patrol cars are run through the operation area of the radar machine at varying speeds, which speeds are checked by radio communication against the speedometer of the police car and the electric speedmeter and graph machine of the radar equipment. If all speed recording devices record the same, radar operations commence.

Actual operation of the radar equipment consists of sending a wave or ray of radio energy down the roadway on the sending or transmitting antenna which wave is reflected off an oncoming car back to the receiver antenna on the station wagon. The sending wave is sent out on one frequency, the deflected or received wave comes back on a different and higher frequency which is translated into miles per hour by the electric speedmeter which measures the difference in the frequencies of the transmitted wave and the received wave. A written recording is made at the same time on the graph machine. The radar operator then identifies and describes the oncoming vehicle ...

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