Man who hit bicyclist charged in new case

JOHNSTOWN – A city man whose vehicle struck and killed a bicyclist on June 25 was charged by authorities Tuesday with driving while ability impaired by drugs in a separate incident.

Fulton County sheriff’s deputies said John P. Damphier, 48, of 10 McKinley Ave., Johnstown, was charged at 1 p.m.

He was charged with DWAI by drugs, failure to keep right, improper lane usage, and possession of a controlled substance outside its original container.

Deputies charged Damphier on County Highway 107 after receiving a report of a motorist driving erratically, officials said. Damphier’s vehicle was seen crossing the white line and center line, officials said. Deputies said he was under the influence of drugs.

Damphier will appear later in Perth Town Court.

During the investigation, officials said, authorities found Damphier previously left the scene of a property-damage accident on County Highway 107 in the town of Johnstown. For that incident, he was issued a ticket for Johnstown Town Court.

On June 25, local area musician Ed Lakata was riding a bicycle near Skunk Hollow Road at 9:30 a.m. when he was struck and killed by Damphier’s vehicle. Both were headed north on Route 29A.

Sheriff Thomas Lorey said at the time Damphier was driving his pickup truck when it collided with Lakata on his bicycle.

No tickets were issued, and alcohol was no factor in that accident, Lorey said.

Lakata, 55, was riding his bicycle from his home in the city to his camp in Caroga Lake when the accident occurred, said his brother, John Lakata.

Ed Lakata had been a prominent musician in the local music scene for many years. He played with many bands, including Skyler’s Dream Team.