The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 8, 2013

Portage man faces charges in crash

PORTAGE — A Portage man was jailed Thursday after authorities said he was intoxicated when he crashed his truck in Croyle Township, which injured a passenger.

In a court document, state police in Ebensburg said Rodney Joseph Rietscha, 32, was driving a 1996 Ford Ranger when the vehicle crashed early Thursday in the 200 block of Beyers Road, injuring Eric Chappell.

After the crash, Rietscha reportedly called a friend to assist Chappell.

The friend found Chappell lying next to the vehicle with a head injury and shallow breathing. She drove him to the Wilmore Fire Department and called 911, troopers said. Chappell was taken to Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown. A hospital spokeswoman was not available on Friday.

Troopers said they found Rietscha at a residence in South Fork and he had a strong odor of alcohol, glassy eyes and slurred speech. He was taken to Memorial Medical Center for a blood test.

Troopers at the crash scene said they found a jacket that was similar to the pants Rietscha was wearing.

He was charged with accident involving personal injury, DUI and several summary charges including failing to render aid and failing to notify police of the accident.

Rietscha was arraigned by on-call District Judge Frederick Creany of Ebensburg and sent to the Cambria County Prison after failing to post 10 percent of $15,000 bond.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on

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