January 06, 2022
An unlicensed driver from Philadelphia who drunkenly crashed his cousin's car in Northampton Township last March, seriously injuring four teenage girls and a passenger in his own car, pleaded guilty Thursday to DUI charges and related offenses in the case, Bucks County prosecutors said.
Shane Brolly, 24, had a blood alcohol level of 0.21 — more than twice the legal limit of .08 — when he allegedly crossed into head-on traffic to pass another vehicle and set off a series of crashes, investigators said.
The March 27 crash happened just after 10 p.m. along the 300 block of Bridgetown Pike, where Brolly was traveling north in a no passing zone and crossed the double yellow lines to get ahead of a vehicle in front of him. In the southbound lane, driving at 70 mph, Brolly's truck collided with a Mazda SUV that rolled several times and wound up 50 feet off the roadway.
After impact, Brolly's truck was sent back into the northbound lane, where it struck the vehicle he had originally attempted to pass.
Inside the Mazda were two 16-year-old girls and two 17-year-old girls, all juniors at Neshaminy High School. They suffered devastating injuries including broken bones and fractures, traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries that required surgery, and multiple lacerations, prosecutors said.
Brolly's passenger, Eion Quinn, suffered serious internal injuries that required surgery, multiple abrasions from the seat belt and pain in his hip and lower back.
The three occupants of the third vehicle were treated at the scene and released.
The four Neshaminy High girls were hospitalized for several weeks and missed time from school. One of the victims, Julia Aquilone, was treated at Temple University Hospital and Shriner’s Hospital for Children after suffering a broken jaw, broken femur, broken knee, broken wrist and other injuries. For weeks, she was limited to eating liquefied food through a straw and was greeted by classmates and her community with a parade when she returned home in late April.
“That night, I didn’t even think she was going to be alive,” her mother, Jaime Aquilone, told Levittown Now. “It was a parents’ worst nightmare. Any moment after that, we were willing to handle and fight through, and her attitude and determination helps us out as parents."
Another victim, Angelique Corsino, told CBS3 that she and her friends were five minutes away from her home when Brolly's truck struck them.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it because when I was in the car I just remember being in so much pain, I just thought everything was done,” Corsino said.
A GoFundMe campaign for the four girls, who continue to rehabilitate from their injuries, has raised more than $150,000 to support them in their ongoing treatment.
On the night of the crash, authorities found opened and unopened beer cans inside Brolly's truck and investigators later learned that Brolly had been drinking heavily throughout the afternoon and evening.
Interviews with witnesses revealed that Brolly and Quinn had each purchased a 12-pack of beer in Montgomery County before 4 p.m. and drank most of them while hitting golf balls at golf center in Philadelphia. Only five of the 24 beer cans remained unopened in the truck after the crash.
But Brolly left the bar with Quinn in the truck and picked up another friend on the way to a second bar. During the drive there, Brolly sideswiped another vehicle and paid the driver $100 not to report the incident, investigators said.
Brolly, Quinn and the third friend arrived at Paddy Whack's Irish Sports Pub in Northeast Philadelphia around 7:20 p.m., where Brolly consumed another two beers, several shots and mixed drinks, according to prosecutors. Surveillance footage from the bar showed Brolly stumbling as he walked and spilling drinks, Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James said in court on Thursday.
Shortly before 10 p.m., the staff at Paddy Whack's refused to serve Brolly any more drinks. When Brolly became agitated, his friends and a couple they had met at the bar tried to calm him down. They asked him not to drive and a woman offered to get him an Uber ride home. Another friend told Brolly he could spend the night at his home, investigators said.
Brolly and Quinn got into the truck and Brolly sped away, crashing with the Mazda about 20 minutes later.
Investigators learned that Brolly is a United Kingdom citizen who has lived in Philadelphia for two years and doesn't possess a valid Pennsylvania driver's license.
Brolly entered a guilty plea before Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey L. Finley to charges including DUI, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and several traffic violations. His sentencing has been deferred to a later date.