The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 23, 2014

Beaverdale man charged in fatal crash

BEAVERDALE — A Beaverdale man was arrested Tuesday on charges that he was driving under the influence when a passenger in his vehicle was killed in a crash in November.

The criminal complaint filed by police says Zeth Donald Markel, 20, of Henry Street, was negotiating a curve on Route 53 just before 3 a.m. Nov. 3 when his vehicle slid off the road and hit an embankment.

Markel’s passenger, Lyle D. Popish, 21, also of Beaverdale, was ejected from the vehicle.

Popish was pronounced dead at the scene.

Markel was transported to Memorial Medical Center.

Police said neither man was wearing a seat belt.

State police from Ebensburg said that when they interviewed Markel in the emergency room, he told them that the passenger side of his SUV “kicked out” on the curve. He overcorrected the vehicle, causing it to spin into the embankment.

Investigators said in the complaint that they detected a strong alcoholic odor on Markel’s breath during the questioning.

After Markel submitted to a blood test an hour and a half after the crash, his blood alcohol content was found to be 0.133 percent, which is 0.131 percent over the legal limit of 0.02 percent for minors.

On Jan. 13, police received a report from the sensing module on Markel’s 2013 Chevrolet Equinox that showed the SUV was traveling as fast as 76 mph just seconds before the accident.

The area where the accident occurred, which is near a railroad underpass in Summerhill Township, has a 45 mph speed limit, police said.

Markel was arraigned before District Judge Rick Varner on Tuesday.

He faces 12 charges, including a felony count of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, a misdemeanor count of DUI as a minor, reckless driving and careless driving that caused unintentional death.

Markel is free on $100,000 unsecured bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Feb. 20 before Varner.

Justin Dennis covers Summerhill Township for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads