US teens tell of injuries as joiner jailed
Four teenagers left with devastating injuries after drink-driving menace Shane Brolly crashed into their car have told of the impact it had on their lives.
The Dungiven joiner was sentenced to 15 years in a US jail on Thursday after crashing his pick-up truck into the schoolgirls’ vehicle.
One was left with brain damage and another had to learn to walk again following the horror smash on March 27 last year.
The teens, dubbed the ‘Neshaminy four’ because they all attend Neshaminy High School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, read victim impact statements at Brolly’s sentencing hearing.
They said the crash, after which they were pulled from the burning car, had caused physical and emotional harm.
Julia Aquilone (18), who was driving, was the most seriously injured.
She said she had to learn to walk again on two occasions following multiple surgeries required for injuries sustained in the crash.
She told the court at Bucks County Justice Centre: “I lost my ability to play soccer, a sport that I have loved and played for over 10 years. Prior to the accident, I could not imagine life without soccer.”
Julianna Mazzoni (18), who was a back seat passenger in the car, recalled how the first time she looked at her unclothed body in a mirror after the crash, she did not recognise what she saw.
She said she now hated the way she looks, adding: “It breaks my heart to know I will never recognise my old self. Instead, I have this new face I never chose to have.”
Front seat passenger Taylor Donnelly (18) told the court: “I don’t think it is possible for anyone in this room to know what my friends and I went through.
“I lay down at night to go to sleep and the images all come back to me.”
Angelina Corsino (18), who was in the back seat, outlined the toll the crash had taken on her family.
She said: “The night of the accident, I put my family and friends in a very scary situation.
“I made them scared, worried and sad.
“I hated myself for making them feel that way. I hated the fact that I was causing them so much pain, even though it wasn’t actually my fault and I couldn’t control it.”
Brolly was living in the US and had been in the country for just under two years at the time of the crash, according to the authorities.
He was living illegally in Philadelphia on an expired work visa when the crash happened.
The 25-year-old also only had a revoked UK driving licence.
He was also a wanted man in Northern Ireland at the time of the crash after fleeing to the US in 2019 before he could be sentenced for similar drink-driving offences committed here.