UPMC doctor charged with DUI, killing another doctor in July crash
Charges have been filed against a UPMC doctor in a crash that killed another doctor in July.
Dr. Douglas Rockacy, 47, from Wexford was killed in the 300 block of Wexford Bayne Road in Pine Township on July 16 just before 1 a.m.
UPMC Mercy confirmed to Channel 11 that Rockacy was a physician at the hospital.
Police said Rockacy was the passenger in a 2020 Tesla that was going downhill on the road when it hit a mailbox, went airborne and landed, overturning into a creek in nearby woods.
According to the criminal complaint, Rockacy was in cardiac arrest at the scene and was pronounced deceased at 1:18 a.m.
The criminal complaint said the driver identified himself as Joseph Yanta. He was conscious, alert and seemed to be oriented.
Channel 11 confirmed that Yanta is a medical toxicologist and emergency physician at UPMC.
Yanta was taken to UPMC Presbyterian where his blood was drawn for medical purposes. One of the tubes of blood, taken an hour after Rockacy was pronounced deceased, showed Yanta’s blood alcohol content was 0.172% within two hours of driving the car.
Officials took more blood from Yanta just before 4 a.m. Those samples had a blood alcohol content of 0.131%.
Yanta admitted multiple times to being the driver, court documents said. He had injuries to his left neck, shoulder and left anterior chest that showed he wore a seat belt and was the driver.
BREAKING: UPMC doctor charged w/ DUI, killing another doctor in July crash. Criminal complaint states Dr. Joseph Yanta was going more than 100 miles over the speed limit & his BAC was more than double the legal limit. MORE DETAILS on @WPXI 4-6:30 https://t.co/FaUHNwPxGn
The victim’s family said that he and Yanta were at a golf outing on July 15 before going to Cenci’s Pizza in Wexford in the evening. Video surveillance shows both men and another man going into the pizza shop at around 9 p.m.
Court documents said Yanta appeared to drink six alcoholic beverages while at Cenci’s Pizza.
All three men and another person left the restaurant between 12:34 a.m. and 12:37 a.m.
The criminal complaint said video was also obtained from the traffic camera at Church Road and Route 910 westbound. That video shows the Tesla coming up on a red light at around 12:40 a.m. before turning left onto Route 910 and accelerating until it drops out of sight over the hill four minutes before the first call to 911.
The investigation revealed that Yanta lost control of the Tesla while driving on a right-hand curve. Rockacy, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the car and killed, according to the complaint.
The complaint also said Rockacy was found in the creek seated upright against some brush and brambles. His cause of death was determined to be multiple blunt force injuries to the head, neck, trunk and extremities and is listed as an accident.
According to the complaint, the investigation revealed Yanta was traveling at a maximum speed of 128 miles per hour per the Restraint Control Module in the Tesla. The posted speed limit on the road is 35 miles per hour.
A search warrant also revealed that the car had no mechanical failures or issues at the time of the crash. The road conditions were also dry and the road free of defects.
Yanta is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, homicide by vehicle, maximum speed limits and driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance — highest rate of alcohol.
The location of the golf outing, Shannopin Country Club, released the following statement from General Manager Mike Meissner: “At this time, Shannopin Country Club would like to pass along its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Rockacy. We will not be issuing any further comment or statements. Thank you.”
A spokesperson from UPMC said “Dr. Yanta is not seeing patients and has no clinical duties assigned.”
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