In an emotion-filled courtroom Tuesday afternoon, Nicholas Whiteley, 21, of North Kingstown, was sentenced to 10 years, 3 to serve at the ACI and 3 on home confinement, in connection to the accident Feb. 19, 2012, on Shippeetown Road in East Greenwich that resulted in the deaths of Madeline Healey, 18, and Michael Ruggieri, 19, both of North Kingstown.
In addition, Whiteley loses his driver's license for five years, and must have Interlock (where you have to blow into a machine in order to get it to start) for two years upon return of license, and he must pay a $5,000 fine. Whiteley had changed his plea from not guilty to no contest.
In that Kent County Courthouse room were Healey and Ruggieri family members.
As reported by WPRI, James Healey, father of Madeline, told the courtroom,
"I am very angry about what took place that morning, but even angrier about what has taken place since. It is sad to say that I believe Nick has proven to me that he feels little remorse of his actions that morning. During the past year, Nick has been partying on Facebook and pictures say he is having a good old time for himself.”
David Ruggieri, Michael's dad, said,
“Michael’s chair sits empty, pushed up against the table, a silent reminder of what we once had.”
The crash took place at around 3:45 a.m. Sunday morning, Feb. 19, 2012, in front of 476 Shippeetown Road between Division and Middle roads in East Greenwich. Police said the vehicle driven by Whiteley had been traveling south on Shippeetown Road when it struck two boulders on the east side of the road, "became airborne and then severed a telephone pole before overturning."
Whiteley and Healey were both ejected from the truck’s cab. Whiteley was taken by ambulence to Rhode Island Hospital. Ruggieri, also in the truck, and Healey were pronounced dead at the scene.
Mortin was treated at the hospital and released shortly after. Whiteley was hospitalized with serious injuries for several days.
Patrick Gronhagen, 21, of Tillinghast Drive in East Greenwich, faces four counts of driving to endanger, according to prosecutor Jay Sullivan. Police said Whiteley was trying to overtake the truck driven by Gronhagen at the time of the accident. His case is still in the pre-trial stage, Sullivan said.