TribLIVE

| Home


Weather Forecast
 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Saltsburg man convicted of vehicular homicide

Daily Photo Galleries

Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

A Saltsburg man faces up to 10 years in prison for killing his friend in a car crash last year.

Clifford F. Porterfield, 56, was convicted Friday of vehicular homicide and drunken driving in connection with the May 13, 2011 crash in Loyalhanna Township that killed 43-year-old Ronald Puzak, also of Saltsburg.

Westmoreland County Judge John Blahovec issued the verdict following a nonjury trial he convened on Nov. 13.

Blahovec found Porterfield guilty of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle and two separate counts of drunken driving. The judge acquitted Porterfield of one charge of reckless endangerment and two summary driving offenses.

Assistant District Attorney Allen Powanda said Porterfield faces a mandatory minimum sentence of three to six years in jail, but the judge could impose a longer sentence to account for the separate drunken driving offenses.

Porterfield lost control of his sport utility vehicle, which skidded across the road, scraped a guide rail and went airborne for about 20 feet before it hit a tree.

Puzak died from blunt-force trauma to his abdomen.

Trial testimony indicated that a breath test conducted about two hours after the crash found Porterfield's blood-alcohol content to be 0.151 percent, or nearly twice the limit at which a motorist is considered to be intoxicated in Pennsylvania.

A blood test four hours after the crash determined Porterfield's alcohol level was 0.118 percent.

Porterfield testified that Puzak caused the crash. Defense attorney Jim Crosby could not be reached.

Blahovec ordered Porterfield to report to the county probation department within two weeks, but he can remain free on bail until his sentencing hearing, which is expected to be held in about three months.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Wolf says he’ll work with state legislature to deal with pension woes
  2. Pittsburgh mayor promotes 3 officers, 2 firefighters
  3. Officials to limit tailgating before Jason Aldean concert at PNC Park
  4. Green Tree company’s complaint ends with settlement of false claims lawsuit
  5. Rossi: Liriano no ace, but he’s Bucs’ key
  6. Federal appeals court deals blow to Affordable Care Act
  7. UPMC McKeesport president reiterates hospital will remain open
  8. Strong demand drives East End apartment developers to expedite next project
  9. McCandless residents voice opposition to Wal-Mart plan
  10. Derry Township assault suspect arrested
  11. Squirrel Hill street that had been paved getting another pave job
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.