STATE v. CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR, SC 18762
Judicial District of Waterbury
Criminal; Whether Evidence was Sufficient to Prove the “Public Highway” Element of Reckless Driving Contained in General Statutes § 14-222 (a). The defendant was convicted of reckless driving in violation of General Statutes § 14-222 (a), stemming from an incident in which he struck a person with his motor vehicle while driving the wrong way on Whittier Avenue, which is a one-way street in a residential neighborhood in Waterbury. On appeal, the defendant claimed that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to conclude that Whittier Avenue was a "municipal road" within the purview of § 14-222 (a), which addresses reckless driving that takes place on public highways, municipal roads, school properties or certain parking areas that are expressly enumerated in the statute. At trial, the state offered into evidence an aerial map of Waterbury depicting the subject street and surrounding streets. The trial court took judicial notice that the map was "an aerial map of the city of Waterbury in 2004." The map contained street names, house numbers and boundary lines but did not show what entity owned or maintained the streets, or whether the streets were private or open to the public. In addition, a Waterbury police officer testified that the street was within his patrol area. He did not testify, however, as to whether the street was a municipal road or whether his patrol area was limited to public roads under the ownership or control of the city of Waterbury. Additionally, there was testimony that street signs were posted on Whittier Avenue indicating that a portion of the street was only open to one-way traffic. No evidence, however, was introduced as to what entity posted or maintained the signs. The Appellate Court (126 Conn. App. 52) determined that the evidence, when construed as a whole and in a light most favorable to supporting the jury's verdict, was not sufficient to show beyond a reasonable doubt that Whittier Avenue is a municipal road. It concluded, therefore, that there was insufficient evidence to support the defendant's conviction of reckless driving in violation of § 14-222 (a). In this certified appeal, the Supreme Court will consider whether the Appellate Court properly determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove the “public highway” element of reckless driving contained in § 14-222 (a).