RURAL VALLEY — Charges were waived to court Tuesday for a bartender accused of providing alcohol to minors and the establishment’s manager, who allegedly tampered with evidence surrounding an investigation of the accidental drowning of three young men in May in South Mahoning Township.
Final Score Sports Saloon bartender Karly Ann Good, 22, of Rural Valley, faces misdemeanor charges of selling or furnishing liquor to a minor and furnishing liquor or malted or brewed beverages to certain persons.
Larry Pompelia, 58, of Rural Valley, manager of the bar, is charged with unsworn falsification to authorities and tampering with physical evidence.
At the office of District Judge Samuel Goldstrohm Tuesday the two, along with another bartender, Kristin Fisher — charged in a separate incident of serving alcohol to minors — opted to have their charges waived.
Early on the morning of May 5, three Kittanning-area men died when their truck drove off a South Mahoning Township access road into a pond. Sean Titus, 20; Zane McMillen, 19; and Cody Douglas, 19, were unable to escape from the submerged vehicle.
Titus, the driver, was determined to have had a blood alcohol level of 0.106 when his body was recovered.
State police and the state liquor control board began investigating the bar following the incident. During that investigation, a search warrant was served in order to obtain the surveillance video and a cash register from the bar. According to a criminal complaint, police believe that the video and register receipts were tampered with to hide evidence.
A criminal complaint also implicates Good in serving the men alcohol the night of the accident.
There are no charges relating to the deaths.
Pompelia was also charged with a misdemeanor relating to serving alcohol to minors. That charge is tied to an incident in which Fisher served two youths later on the night of May 5.
Both Good and Pompelia have the option of applying to be placed on a first-time offenders’ program with a chance to have their records cleared in two years or less. Called Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition, or ARD, the program is offered to certain first-time offenders who are charged with nonviolent crimes.
If they meet all the requirements of the ARD probation, their records will be expunged.
George Kepple of the Armstrong County district attorney’s office said Tuesday after court that the program can offer a way for defendants, even if they think they’re not guilty, to know that they can have a clean record after a period of time.
“There’s certainty with the ARD; there’s uncertainty with the trial,” he said.
James Steven Bock, an attorney for Pompelia, said that while his legal team believes their client is not guilty, they agreed that the ARD route could be the best decision.
“You’re offered a program that enables you to address the situation, have no record at the end of this and move on with your life,” he said after court.
He described the choice as one also based on finances.
“In terms of dollars and cents, it’s a great advantage when you’re faced with the costs of having a trial,” he said.
Good’s attorney, R.E. Valasek, indicated that his client may take that route as well, but was not definite.
Like Good and Pompelia, Fisher may be granted ARD. As of Tuesday, she did not have legal representation.
Those involved in the case indicated they expect the three will know about ARD sentencing by early 2014.