Crime

He told his friend he was OK to drive. Now he faces homicide charges.

The driver in a Sept. 9 vehicle crash that claimed the life of Penn State student Byron Markle is facing felony charges for his role in the crash.

Markle, 20, of York, was the passenger in a Nissan Pathfinder driven by fellow Penn State student Tyler Fasig, 22, of Leesport. A wide turn from Blue Course Drive onto North Atherton Street caused a rollover, killing Markle.

Deputy Coroner Judith Pleskonko pronounced Markle deceased and ordered an autopsy, according to a police report. The cause of death was found to be “head trauma by a motor vehicle crash.”

Penn State students held a vigil for Markle at the intersection a few days after the crash.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Ferguson Township police, an officer spoke with Fasig after the crash, noting a faint odor of alcohol on him. Fasig said he had a mixed drink earlier.

Fasig performed “unsatisfactorily” on a field sobriety test, police said, and a breath test indicated a BAC of .199. He was placed under arrest and taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center for a blood draw. A state police lab report later indicated a BAC of .169.

Fasig allegedly told police he’d been drinking multiple beverages earlier in the day. At some point, he said he wanted to return to his residence to pick something up.

Fasig said Markle had offered to drive, but he told Markle he should drive because he’d seen Markle take “multiple shots.” He reportedly told Markle he felt okay and that they would take Markle’s vehicle.

The trip had gone normally until they reached the intersection of Blue Course and North Atherton, police said, at which point took the turn at about 25-35 mph and realized too late he was going too fast. He had to take the turn wide, jumped the curb and fought to get the vehicle back on the roadway.

When he finally got the vehicle back on the road, police said, it tipped. Video evidence showed the same scenario.

Fasig was arraigned Wednesday before District Judge Ronald Horner, according to court documents, and charged with two felony counts of homicide by vehicle — including a count of homicide while driving under the influence — and three felony charges of aggravated assault — including a charge of assault by vehicle while driving under the influence. He also faces several misdemeanor counts, including involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence.

Unsecured bail was set at $25,000. A preliminary hearing is slated for Jan. 25.

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