Pleas likely in fatal Indiana County crash
The owner of an Armstrong County bar and a bartender who allegedly served alcohol to three underage men hours before their pickup plunged into an Indiana County pond on May 5, killing the trio, waived their right to preliminary hearings on Tuesday.
Larry P. Pompelia, 58, the owner of The Final Score Saloon in Cowanshannock Township, and Karly Ann Good, 23, a bartender there, waived formal hearings on two misdemeanor charges each filed by state police for selling and furnishing alcohol to minors.
Pompelia waived a scheduled hearing on separate charges of unsworn falsification to authorities and tampering with evidence for allegedly erasing surveillance tapes showing the three underage men drinking alcohol in his bar about 11:30 p.m. May 4.
Cody A. Brink-Douglas, 19, and Zane M. McMillen, 19, both of North Buffalo, and Sean J. Titus, 20, of Butler, formerly of Kittanning, died when Titus, the driver, apparently became disoriented as his 1997 Mazda climbed a steep hill and overturned in a muddy overflow pond just after midnight in neighboring Indiana County, state police said. Brink-Douglas and McMillen graduated from Kittanning Senior High School in June 2012.
Police said the three friends were heading to a party near the pond in South Mahoning.
As Pompelia and Good separately left District Judge Samuel Goldstrohm's office in Rural Valley without commenting, their respective attorneys indicated that plea bargain deals are in the works before they head to trial in Armstrong County Common Pleas Court.
“We felt it in the best interest of our client to waive this proceeding today because we've been presented an offer by the district attorney's office that we want to review,” said Pompelia's co-counsel, Robert Bell, a former Indiana County district attorney.
Bell indicated the offer includes Pompelia's possible admission into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for nonviolent, first-time criminal offenders.
Under the program, participants who successfully complete a probationary period can petition to have their records expunged. The program does not require defendants to make an admission of guilt.
Bell is representing Pompelia along with attorney James S. Bock, also of Indiana.
Good's attorney, R.E. Valasek of Lower Burrell, said his client wants to quickly resolve the matter, but he declined to disclose whether she, too, was offered admission into the ARD program, which could include completion of alcohol and/or drug awareness classes.
“Nothing has been formalized. There's always that potential,” Valasek said.
State police Trooper Jason Morgan determined that The Final Score Saloon, along Route 85 just outside Rural Valley, served Titus, McMillen and Brink-Douglas.
Indiana County Chief Deputy Coroner Jerry Overman pronounced the three dead shortly before 2 a.m. when their bodies were retrieved from the pond by Plumville firefighters.
Some others at the party attempted to free the men from the truck, but they could not because the doors were jammed.
In a separate case unrelated to serving alcohol to the three underage accident victims, another employee of the tavern, Kristen L. Fisher, 19, waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Tuesday in connection with illegally selling and furnishing alcohol to minors earlier on May 5. Authorities uncovered evidence pertaining to Fisher's case while investigating Pompelia and Good, police said.
Pompelia has operated the bar with his wife, Brenda, since 2006.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Contractor fighting Armstrong blight one house at a time
- Manorville boy gets his wish: a week at Walt Disney World
- Chances dwindling for Kittanning residents’ feedback on Jefferson Street changes
- Elderton losing its top cop
- Program energizes students at Manor elementary school
- Armstrong students put Thanksgiving feasts on the table
- Former Worthington police chief going to trial
- Ford City’s proposed budget would slash police force
- West Kittanning health center could reopen after Pa. Supreme Court ruling
- Kittanning men’s club donates $1K to foundation for sick children
- Off-road Toy Run in Templeton to raise money for charity