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Whiteley Sentenced To 10 Years For Role In Fatal Shippeetown Crash

Parents of the two teenagers who died in the February 2012 crash speak out at the sentencing.


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.

EG mom January 30, 2013 at 04:31 PM
I don't even know these kids, but I drive by the memorial every single day. I choked up everyday for months after this tragedy, I'm crying now!
Elizabeth McNamara January 30, 2013 at 04:54 PM
I know how you feel. It's all very sad.
Tammy Flanagan EGAPL President January 30, 2013 at 07:41 PM
My brother was killed by a drunk driver 40 years ago on RT 4 Division St overpass. The drunk driver was never punished. My Mom is going to be 90 next month. We all miss him everyday.I travel that strip of road everday and visualize the scene. It never gets easier. I love you..Kevin Dutton
just a caring friend January 31, 2013 at 03:27 AM
Please don't judge him by this nicks been a friend of mine since middle school he helped me thru things were all of my friends turned on me. Bad things happen to good people It's very sad what happened that morning and nick has to live with it for the rest of his life. I'm so sorry to the families who lost a child. a silbing..a loved one. I have lost more than a handful of friends to soon. And it doesn't ever stop hurting but the pain eases some days . Take each day as is and remember that you bow have beautiful guardian angels who are free .
s.n.r. January 31, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Such a tragic story...as parents we have an obligation and a duty to tell our children that drinking is unacceptable before turning 21. We can say that it's a rite of passage to drink when you're young but too many children are dying. Ask where your children are going, when they are coming home ...and occasionally check their stories by going to where they say they are going to be. If they are not truthful, consequences should follow. Be a parent now so you can count your child as a friend when they become an adult. Sometimes it's so hard...but we could be saving their lives by making our children accountable.

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