Eight facing charges in Penn State Altoona party

Eight people, including one who allegedly clogged a toilet with a large amount of marijuana and another who climbed a water tower and couldn’t get down, are facing multiple charges linked to Saturday’s party at an

off-campus housing complex.

Logan Township police filed those charges and expect to cite eight more in connection with what arresting officers described as a disorderly riot in the third level parking area

of Nittany Pointe apartments.

“When we pulled in, there were about 100 [people] in the parking lot,” Logan Township Police Chief Ron Heller said Monday. “Most disbursed, but those who didn’t were arrested. Those who wouldn’t leave their balconies, they were arrested, too.”

Penn State Altoona Chancellor Lori Bechtel-Wherry said Monday that she appreciated the response and cooperation of the local police departments with campus police.

“We will take appropriate action with every student involved,” Bechtel-Wherry said.

Besides facing charges at Magisterial District Judge Steven Jackson’s court, the Penn State Altoona students will be subject to the university’s disciplinary system, with a variety of sanctions including expulsion.

“I’m so disheartened with the behavior of these students,” Bechtel-Wherry said. “They’re a handful of our 4,000 student body.”

In the charges Logan Township filed, officers listed hometown address only and did not distinguish if the individual charged is enrolled at Penn State Altoona or another educational institution.

In addition to rioting, failure to disburse and disorderly conduct, Bryan Andrew Coleman, 22, Glen Mills, was charged with possession with intent to deliver and tampering with evidence. After he and others reportedly chanted and yelled at officers from an apartment balcony, police went to the apartment and found Coleman inside a bathroom near the balcony, leaning over a toilet.

Court documents indicate that officers found a large amount of marijuana in the clogged toilet, along with several large plastic bags next to the toilet.

In addition to rioting and failure to disperse, James Thomas Zabel, 19, West Chester, was charged with recklessly endangering another person, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and underage drinking.

Police found Zabel atop a water tower, waving his arms to encourage students in nearby apartment buildings to keep chanting his name.

After telling police he was too scared to climb down the tower’s outside ladder, police summoned the United Fire Department who assisted him in returning to the ground.

In addition to rioting and failure to disburse, Robert Warren Bartlett, 18, Newtown, was charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, recklessly endangering another person, disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and underaged drinking.

Court documents indicate that Bartlett got into a fight with a Logan Township police officer, causing the pair to roll down a hill at the complex. A fellow officer responded and helped restrain Bartlett. Both officers sustained injuries, with one transported to UPMC Altoona for treatment. Four others arrested Saturday were: Elizabeth Underwood, 19, Harrison, N.Y.; William Patterson III, 20, Malvern; Lennard Besidsky, 19, Richboro, and a 17-year-old female, Mount Knee, N.Y. They are accused of disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and underage drinking.

Logan Township police also arrested Jonathan Spoerl, 18, of Wayne, early Sunday morning along Juniata Gap Road where he was reportedly knocking on doors. Spoerl was charged with resisting arrest, aggravated assault, simple assault, disorderly conduct, underaged drinking and public drunkenness.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.