Cambria Heights principal charged with DUI

Cambria Heights High School’s principal has been charged with drunken driving after allegedly crashing a vehicle on June 3 in Dean Township.

Kenneth J. Kerchenske, 36, of Carrolltown, was arrested after crashing his pickup truck, a 2006 Lincoln Mark LT, on Kough Drive near Wopsy Road, according to a criminal complaint filed June 5 by state police.

The truck was found crashed off of the roadway about 1:33 a.m., and Kerchenske was the only one in the vehicle at that time, police said.

A state trooper who compiled the complaint said he “could easily detect the odor of beverage alcohol” on Kerchenske’s breath and body while conducting an interview.

“While interacting with Kerchenske, I observed him to have poor balance and had to physically hold him up to prevent him from falling to the ground several times,” the trooper wrote.

Kerchenske then failed a sobriety test and admitted that he’d consumed alcohol before the crash, according to the complaint.

Kerchenske was later transported to Conemaugh Miners Medical Center in Hastings, where a blood test was performed.

The results showed that Kerchenske had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24 percent, according to the complaint. That is three times the legal driving limit of 0.08 percent.

Kerchenske faces misdemeanor charges of DUI and DUI with the highest level of blood-alcohol content. He also faces summary charges of failing to keep right and careless driving.

Kerchenske is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 1 p.m. Aug. 8 before Magisterial District Judge Michael Zungali, online court documents show.

A message left on an answering machine believed to belong to Kerchenske was not returned by Friday afternoon.

However, Cambria Heights School District Superintendent Michael Strasser said that Kerchenske notified district officials about the alleged drunken driving incident immediately after the accident.

“Obviously, the district is aware of the report,” Strasser said.

Strasser said that he could not disclose exactly how Kerchenske’s alleged crime will be addressed within the district.

State law allows personnel issues to be dealt with behind closed doors.

Strasser also said that district officials plan to follow Kerchenske’s case as it progresses through the court system to note if and when he is found guilty.

“We are monitoring the situation, and we are going to be handling it appropriately,” he said.