Boating crash expert: Berlin victims should’ve moved out of the way

Dr. Joseph Yurich, of Poland, is accused of crashing into a fishing boat on the Berlin Reservoir in 2015, killing an Akron man

Miles Beam takes stand for defense in Dr. Joseph Yurich's deadly Berlin boating crash trial

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The defense presented its case Monday in the trial of Dr. Joseph Yurich, calling a witness to testify on how the victims of a deadly boating accident two years ago may have contributed to that crash.

The Poland doctor is accused of crashing into a bass-fishing boat on the Berlin Reservoir in May of 2015, killing Brian Cuppett, of Akron, who was inside. The crash injured Bruce Lindamood, who owned the fishing boat.

Last week, the medical examiner said Cuppett’s autopsy showed blunt force trauma to his head and neck.

Prosecutors claim Yurich was driving the boat too fast and that he had been drinking but the defense disagrees. Yurich says he hit a rock and didn’t realize it was another boat until much later.

“I was provided a lot of materials, that was quite extensive,” said boating accident reconstruction expert Miles Beam, the first witness called Monday morning.

Beam began by telling the court that there would be no way to know for sure how fast Yurich’s Bayliner power boat was moving at the time of the crash. He added that the fishing boat should have moved out of Yurich’s path.

He claimed the victims’ use of a camping lantern as a light source may have actually contributed to the crash.

“This light…I believe, would have made recognition of the bass boat by the operator of the Bayliner more difficult,” Beam said.

The defense expert said instead of illuminating the fishing boat, the lantern could have had the opposite effect.

“It could be confused with what we refer to as background lighting — lights on the shore, street lights, dock lighting.”

Yurich’s wife, Angelina Rodriguez, also took the stand Monday. She talked about the moments she learned about the accident.

Defense lawyers are calling more witnesses on Tuesday. At this point, there’s no word on whether or not Yurich will take the stand.

If convicted, he would face mandatory time in prison.


WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s