Surgeon pleads innocent in fatal boat crash


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

A local surgeon waived his presence at his arraignment and pleaded innocent to charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol in a May 9 crash involving two boats on Berlin Reservoir that killed one man and injured another.

Dr. Joseph F. Yurich filed his written waiver and plea with Magistrate Timothy Welsh of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Dr. Yurich did not appear in court for his scheduled arraignment Tuesday, but his lawyers, Lynn Maro and John B. Juhasz, were in the courtroom.

Dr. Yurich, 36, of Hunters Hill, Poland, was indicted by the Mahoning County grand jury Sept. 3.

The aggravated vehicular homicide charge, which is a second-degree felony, pertains to the death of Neal B. Cuppett, 58, of Akron; and the aggravated vehicular assault charge, which is a third-degree felony, pertains to injuries to Cuppett’s fishing buddy, Bruce Lindamood, 42, of Green.

Lindamood was treated at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna.

The indictment said Dr. Yurich had a blood-alcohol content of 0.08, which is the legal intoxication threshold, when the 12:20 a.m. crash occurred.

The impaired-boating charge is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Last Wednesday, Magistrate Dennis Sarisky set Dr. Yurich’s bond at $25,000, with 10 percent of that figure permissible; and Dr. Yurich posted $2,500 as a cash bond Friday.

Magistrate Welsh continued that bond, and the case was assigned to Judge John M. Durkin.

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