Police Charge 2 In Shippeetown Crash
The driver in the crash that killed two teenagers Feb. 19 and the driver of a second vehicle both face charges.
East Greenwich police are charging two drivers in connection with the crash on Shippeetown Road Feb. 19 that left two teenagers dead.
Nicholas Whiteley, 21, of Lafayette Road in North Kingstown, driver of the truck that overturned and split a utility poll in two, will face five charges, including two charges of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, death resulting.
Patrick Gronhagen, 21, of Tillinghast Drive in East Greenwich, faces four counts of driving to endanger, according to police. Police said Whiteley was trying to overtake the truck driven by Gronhagen at the time of the accident.
Madeline Healey, 18, and Michael Ruggieri, 19, both of North Kingstown, were killed in the crash. They were passengers in the truck driven by Whiteley along with Christopher Mortin, 19. Mortin was treated and released from the hospital the same day. Whiteley was hospitalized with serious injuries for several days.
The crash took place at around 3:45 a.m. Sunday morning, Feb. 19, in front of 476 Shippeetown Rd. between Division and Middle roads in East Greenwich. Police said the vehicle 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."
Whitely and Healey were both ejected from the truck’s cab. Whiteley was taken by ambulence to Rhode Island Hospital. It took fire fighters more than an hour to rescue Mortin from the vehicle. Ruggieri, also in the truck, and Healey were pronounced dead at the scene.
According to Shippeetown Road resident Patrick Fennessey, who was one of the first people on the scene, a truck that had been driving ahead of Whiteley's truck turned around and came back to the crash site. Fennessey talked to one of the men from that first truck who said they were coming from Denny’s and had been heading to a house on Tillinghast Road.
Whiteley and Gronhagen will be arraigned Thursday morning at Kent County Courthouse.