Alcohol-related charges placed

Kaitlin R. Greenockle, News Editor

Campus police Chief Eric Zangaglia said there have been about eight alcohol-related incidents where citations had been filed this semester.

Weekends are typically when most of these incidents occur since students don’t have classes to worry about, according to Zangaglia.

“A lot of the times, we get noise complaints, and then we find alcohol present, or, if someone drinks to excess, we will get calls because someone has passed out, fell or is staggering,” Zangaglia said in explanation of how these incidents are brought to police attention.

Zangaglia said alcohol could be a precursor to other violations.

“Universities across the board are trying to educate students that it is one thing to go have a fun time but another for it to lead to poor choices,” Zangaglia said.

Student Affairs Vice President Shawn Brooks said the number of students being transported to hospitals due to alcohol have been down.

“I remember in the past, we used to have four or five transports a weekend,” Brooks said.

Brooks said since the freshmen class is slightly smaller this year, that could be a reason the numbers are down. He said freshmen are usually the ones to experiment with alcohol.

Pitt-Johnstown police have charged senior Katie Duttry, 22, of Curwensville, Clearfield County, with driving under the influence and public drunkenness. She was also charged with careless driving, all as a result of incidents on Highfield Avenue bordering the campus Oct. 10.

The affidavit said officers Matthew D. Updyke and Robert Miller were driving north in a marked police vehicle on Highfield Avenue behind Duttry’s vehicle as it swerved on the road.

Duttry’s vehicle crossed over the center of the road, almost hitting a curb and then parked vehicles.

Updyke and Miller pulled her over in Penn Highlands Community College’s parking lot, according to the affidavit.

Duttry did not have identification but was able to provide her vehicle’s registration and insurance information.

The officers smelled a strong alcohol odor coming from the vehicle, according to the affidavit.

She was asked to exit her vehicle and agreed to take a field sobriety test.

First she was asked to touch her nose with her index finger, which she failed on both hands.

Duttry was then asked to stand on one foot, which she could not after three tries. Her last field sobriety test was to walk heel to toe for 10 paces, which she failed on her second and third step, according to the affidavit.

She was placed under arrest for suspected DUI, handcuffed and transported to Windber Medical Center to test her blood alcohol content. The test came back with a level of 0.172 percent, over twice the legal limit, the affidavit said.

Duttry was then taken to the Campus Police Office and released to another student, the affidavit said.

The next day, Oct. 11, sophomore Patrick Fanning, 20, of Indiana, Pa., was given an alcohol violation citation leading to a $354 fine.

Fanning was found by Updyke in the Student Union with a 16 fluid ounces Natural Light beer can in his possession and a strong alcohol beverage odor on his breath, according to the citation.

Oct. 12, freshman Austin Palko, 21, of Johnstown, was given an alcohol violation citation leading to a $254 fine.

Palko was found by Miller in a Sunset Lodge public space, under the influence of alcohol to the point where he had passed out on a couch. He was transported to Windber Medical Center due to an alcohol overdose, according to the citation.