Trial begins for local doctor charged in fatal Berlin boating crash
Yurich is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and assault, as well as operating a watercraft under the influence
By WKBN Staff Published: July 10, 2017, 11:59 am Updated: July 10, 2017, 12:40 pm
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been more than two years since a deadly boat crash on the Berlin Reservoir. Monday afternoon, a physician from Poland is set to go on trial for causing it.
Monday morning, Joseph Yurich formally signed papers waiving his right to have a jury hear his case. It will now be heard by Judge Jack Durkin.
Yurich is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and assault, as well as operating a watercraft under the influence.
Back in May 2015, investigators say Yurich crashed his boat into another — near the causeway on Route 224 — killing Neal Cuppett of Akron and injuring his fishing partner, Bruce Lindamood, who’s also from the Akron area. Police say he then left the scene.
Sheriff’s deputies in Portage County caught up with Yurich a couple hours later at his home in Deerfield.
Prosecutors say they expect to spend most of this week calling witnesses. The case could last into next week.
If Yurich is convicted, he’ll face mandatory prison time.
Coming up this afternoon, lawyers from both sides are expected to make their opening statements. Cuppett’s widow and Lindamood are also expected to speak.
I don't know the doctor, however, I believe he should get the same punishment as any other person regardless of his status in the community. He was intoxicated, and operating a motorized vehicle, which is illegal, and it cost someone's life. A family is now without a husband/father/son/brother. If it were your family member on the other boat, how would you feel?
BERLIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – A boating crash that killed one person early Saturday morning in Berlin Township involved a prominent local surgeon, WKBN has learned Tuesday.
Dr. Joe Yurich was at the helm of a boat on Berlin Lake just after midnight Friday night.
That boat crashed into a fishing boat with two men inside: 58-year-old Neal Cuppett died and Bruce Lindamood was injured.
Investigators say when they got to the scene, both men were in the water, with one holding the other.
Rescuers took them to Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna.
ODNR says alcohol was involved in the crash, but hasn’t yet said who was drinking. According to an ODNR report, a Portage County Sheriff’s deputy did a blood alcohol content assessment at the scene.
WKBN is working to get the results of that test. Investigators say a lot of people in the area heard the crash and called 911.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -
A surgeon from Poland facing four charges in connection with the death of a boater on Berlin Lake waived his arraignment in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday.
Thirty-six-year-old Dr. Joseph Yurich is free on $25,000 bond after being indicted by the Mahoning County Grand Jury on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault, and two counts of operating a vehicle under the influence.
The case has been assigned to Judge John Durkin's court, which will set the next hearing date.
According to investigators, Yurich was one of the operators involved in the May 9th collision between a sixteen-foot fishing boat, and the seventeen-foot Bayliner power boat on Berlin Lake.
The indictment says Dr. Yurich was responsible for the death of 58-year-old Neal Cuppett and for serious injuries sustained by Bruce Lindamood. Both Akron men were in the other boat involved in the crash.
The Portage County coroner ruled that Cuppet's death was accidental.
Investigators say that Yurich was operating the boat under the influence of alcohol
Prosecutors say Yurich yelled at the victims as he left the scene of the accident.
According to State of Ohio medical records, Yurich graduated from the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine in 2004.
His license to practice medicine expires is scheduled to expire in 2017.