YURICH TRIAL UPDATE | Doctor not guilty of homicide, but guilty of negligence

YOUNGSTOWN — Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court found Dr. Joseph Yurich not guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of Neal Cuppett, 58, of Akron, who died in a Berlin Reservoir boat crash on May 9, 2015.

However, Judge Durkin found him guilty of the lesser included offense of vehicular homicide due to negligence.

"The defendant's negligence is the proximate cause of death," Judge Durkin said.

That charge requires mandatory jail time, but it is a misdemeanor, so Dr. Yurich will not go to prison.

Dr. Yurich was also found guilty of failure to stop after an accident.

He was found not guilty of aggravated vehicular assault and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

The prosecutor indicted Dr. Yurich under a specific section of the aggravated vehicular homicide and assault statutes that specified that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.

The judge said all witnesses testified that Dr. Yurich did not show signs of impairment on the night of the crash.

Last year, Judge Durkin ruled blood and alcohol samples from Dr. Yurich on the night of the crash were inadmissible because they were not properly refrigerated according to Ohio law.

Those samples recorded a blood-alcohol level of .152, a toxicologist reported.

Judge Durkin further explained that Dr. Yurich's testimony the sound of an explosion had triggered an Iraq war flashback was in question because the defendant did not tell his wife about the explosion on the night of the crash.

He also dismissed the defense's argument that Dr. Yurich was worried his boat might sink.

"If justice was accomplished here, we would have to turn back the hands of time," Judge Durkin said. "That's something we cannot do."

Dr. Yurich's sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

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