Driver In Crash That Killed Two NK Teens Sentenced

Nicholas Whitely has been sentenced to three years in prison and three at home.


The North Kingstown man has been sentenced to three years in prison and another three years of home confinement after changing his plea from not guilty to no contest in the drunken-driving crash that killed two North Kingstown teenagers last year, according to the Providence Journal.

On Feb. 19, 2012, Nicholas Whiteley – now 22 years old – was behind the wheel of a truck carrying 19-year-old Michael Ruggieri and 18-year-old Madeline Healey down Shippeetown Road in East Greenwich. Whiteley, who was under the influence at the time of the crash, .

Whiteley was hospitalized following the crash with serious injuries for several days. He was charged with two counts of DUI (death resulting) and two counts of driving to endanger (death resulting). 

Following victim-impact statements, Superior Court Judge Bennett R. Gallo sentenced 22-year-old Whiteley to 10 years – with three to serve in prison and three to serve on home confinement. Whiteley will also lose his license for five years. Following that time, he will have an interlock device installed on his vehicle for two years, requiring he would have to blow into a breathalyzer to start his vehicle.

jeff barry January 30, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Soft very soft.
NK Parent January 30, 2013 at 03:53 PM
I disagree -- I think the sentence seems just. ALL 18- to 21-year-olds make bad decisions and this one just happened to be especially bad and incredibly unlucky for him. This kid's life will never be the same and needlessly punishing him for the rest of his life isn't going to bring back the dead.
Midlife Momma January 30, 2013 at 04:50 PM
"Needlessly punishing him" ---really, NK Parent??? R u for real? According to testimony yesterday at his sentencing Whiteley is still drinking and having himself a good time in a very public way, which shows no respect for Michael's or Maddie's family. Also sets a very poor example for other 18-21 year olds, or kids of any age, who may be tempted to do what Whiteley did: drive drunk. True, we all do make mistakes, but we need to learn from the mistakes, and the results of the mistake are a huge part in what we learn. This result is much too soft.....My child, a member of the class of 2011, buried 3 friends in 2012.....that has been hard on us too....God Bless all the parents involved here......
Barbara January 30, 2013 at 05:51 PM
I also feel that the sentence imposed was too soft. There are many types of "bad decisions", but this one resulted in the loss of two lives. Thank you, Midlife Momma.
SRstreak January 30, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Very soft. At least 10 years. 3 years from now he'll be binging in his house.
Friend of Nick and Deceased January 30, 2013 at 07:11 PM
I do believe NK parent is "For real", rightfully so. Should we condemn One for mistakes that we all have made in the past? While, yes this one cause a great deal of grief for many people, how would putting this young man in prison help that grief? If anything it merely creates an individual that is more likely to commit crimes in the future. Would it not be more impressive if his punishment served the families that are facing this grief? Instead we resort to putting this young man in a cage surrounded by an environment of kill or be killed. We've all heard the "don't drop the soap in the showers". How will that help our grief? Revenge is never the answer, "an eye for an eye will only make the world blind". How do we suppose that this young person will create something greater with his life, to honor his friends who have passed, if the society he needs to work in imprisons him? I understand dealing with one's anger, but I'm not sure taking it out on someone who is struggling with his own actions is the right idea. Neither can we condemn One for actions he has yet to commit. Binging in the future should have no bearing on the actions he has committed today; though sounding as you have experience in this matter you may even be able to help him get through his pain. If we truly believe in God we shall realize that we are not The Judge.
Jeff Crawford January 30, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Keep in mind that upon his release from the ACI and the start of his home confinement, authorities have the right to check on him unannounced and test for alcohol, drugs or any other breach of his sentence. Should either be detected or that he violated his conditions, I believe they can throw him back into the ACI to finish out the entire sentence. Chances are he'll slip up.
Kerrin Chrupcala January 30, 2013 at 09:49 PM
I wonder if you'd feel the same if it was your neice who was killed in the accident. It would be another thing if Nick showed remorse over the past 11 months and 21 days since Madeline passed away. I am a forgiving person and realize we are all sinners and make mistakes but am disappointed by his behavior since the accident. All of us will live with the poor decisions he made on Feb 19, 2012 to drive drunk and reckless. He was "lucky" to live and the punishment isn't "needless". Additionally, the "dead" have names - Maddie and Mike. Kerrin Chrupcala
Midlife Momma January 31, 2013 at 12:57 AM
in the 11 months since the accident, Whiteley could have done something to honor the friends he killed or tried to show he intended to create something greater with his life....posting his party ways on facebook doesnt do that...he has not learned a thing and has not shown he is capable of learning a thing, which causes MORE pain for families and friends. I guess by your logic everyone who is in prison made a "mistake" and should be given the opportunity to make something of themselves....I think they had that chance and blew it, and so did Whiteley. As I said before, I feel for all the parents involved here, including Whiteley's.
Friend of Nick and Deceased January 31, 2013 at 05:08 AM
I do not believe there is a deadline for Grace. While yes, I agree, One could always do more. We also know that the stress felt by Nick must be incredible. To know that you are mostly responsible for these young peoples' lives. The possible guilt toward these young peoples' parents, tremendous. So a little time spent with good friends is more than necessary. What do kids, especially young men, of this age do? They typically drink, its a thing. One aspect I do not see on this young man's page is excessive partying pictures/"ways". One does see good friends-nay- great friends, trying to give support to someone who has clearly been entirely affected by a great tragedy. Other than that I see posts of a young man who is lost in grief for an accident that he mostly caused. We can not under any circumstances know what anyone has learned. At this moment a Friend a Son a Person of the community is lost in grief, that he may not even understand. At this current time this Being needs our help to learn and to take the next step forward, to understand the full scope of this tragedy. Otherwise we are shutting him out and We are no better than the tragedy that happened. Considering his time is not up yet how could he have "blew" it? We all still have time to right our wrongs. I believe he needs some grace from our community to fully stand up and take the next positive step forward. At that time, only at that time, will he, or anyone for that matter, be able to Help others affected.
Midlife Momma January 31, 2013 at 01:49 PM
Friend says: "So a little time spent with good friends is more than necessary. What do kids, especially young men, of this age do? They typically drink, its a thing. " Friend, you make it sound like Whiteley threw a rock and broke someone's window..."It's a thing", OMG....he was drinking and driving, which is illegal, and he killed two people. He is responsible-not "mostly responsible". He is also responsible for the events that follow, which in this country means jail time. That is the simple truth of the matter. It is a "thing" for little kids to be fascinated by fire but we tell them over and over: "Never play with matches". NEVER, EVER get in a car with someone who had been drinking and then chooses to drive....NEVER........ WIth enabling friends like you, Whiteley and many others who may choose to do the "thing" of drinking and driving, the result is going to be more of the same: tragic loss of life and shattered families left behind......
Midlife Momma January 31, 2013 at 01:56 PM
One last thought, Friend. I hope you find the grace to support him through his jail time. He must be absolutely terrified. Can you find the grace to honor Maddie and Michael by encouraging responsible activity, even if drinking and then attempting to drive are a "thing"??? I still cant get over that statement....you are asking for sympathy for Whiteley and what he did by saying it was just a "thing". Instead you should be telling anyone who reads this that one NEVER, NEVER, NEVER should get in a car driven by someone who has been drinking.......end of story....
J January 31, 2013 at 03:35 PM
35 years ago I was in a car accident similar to this one and my best friend was killed. Her boyfriend was driving and never could forgive himself, it was difficult for me to forgive him, I should have died and wanted too because of the loss of my friend. Drinking and driving is wrong no doubt but it continues to happen. Kids at this age think they are invisible and think such a thing would never happen to them. The boy driving this car was never charged or sent to jail. But his pain was so much that he later died in another accident a few years later. Would it be more positive to have this young man get some treatment which he will surely need and also work with a program like MADD to try and help other kids. Maybe go to the high schools and tell his story so that maybe other children will learn from him. It would be healing for him and help others to know the dangers these kids are facing. Peer pressure is an evil in our world that will never go away but I think we can teach our children how to deal with it. I feel very sorry for all the families involved and I am sure this young man did not want to hurt his friends that night. If his sentence were to spend the next ten years helping other kids and to stay clean and sober showing by example wouldn't this be the most positive punishment we could give him and maybe save a few life's in the process.
Jordan's mom January 31, 2013 at 06:23 PM
I have tried to leave comments they go away while i try and log in ...very frustrating!
Jordan's mom January 31, 2013 at 06:58 PM
I don't know what the answer is to such a tragedy,I don't think jail is the way to fix anything.Nick will be in his own prison forever as his parents will be knowing that two lives were lost because of their son's carelessness.Would Mike and Maddie want this?they are in a place where forgiveness and love surround them.The pain and grief is intense and relentless for the parents of Mike and Maddie. All kids do stupid careless things- this was one that turned out tragic.What if by some chance it was their son driving Im sure none of these young kids are perfect.If any healing is to begin maybe there could have been another way to serve justice?.My son was driving and went off the road and lost his life,his friend was spared thank someone above. luckily alcohol was not involved yet I can't say if he was being careless and stupid driving fast I can only guess.My point is kids this age are not perfect will JAIL help anyone involved?
OrangesPoranges February 01, 2013 at 05:47 PM
What surprises me is not so much the jail/home confinement portions of the sentence, but that he only loses his license for five years. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and he should lose that privilege permanently.
Barbara February 01, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Jordan's mom: The loss of your son was truly tragic, and he is missed. The loss of Michael and Maddie, also truly tragic, was caused by several events, but ultimately they died because of the careless actions of another person. No one is perfect, to be sure, but I think if one spends time in jail, they are more likely to reflect on their regrettable actions in confinement.
nkresident February 02, 2013 at 11:24 AM
I was there in the church for Reggie's funeral mass when his father stated " that a senseless series of events resulted in this tragedy and that the four people in the truck collectively, COLLECTIVELY, made a couple of bad choices and that actions have consequences." One does not actually know what was said or not said in those final minutes as they drove down the road and i'm not talking about just in Nick's truck...what about the other truck that was involved? There were six people combined in those two trucks. Did anybody, anybody say "hey this is a bad idea "or "you are going too fast slow down" or "don't pass Nick" or "don't pass Pat"?? Mike's father is correct...actions have consequences and also true is no actions have consequences. Ultimately the responsibility is with the driver of any vehicle but it is also...to a degree...also the responsibility of those sitting as passengers in ANY vehicle they are sitting in, to speak up if something does not feel right. So my message to those kids who know Maddie and Reggie and Nick and Pat and CJ and who themselves continue in the same routine every Friday/Sat night, who post their own pictures of themselves at parties, who also drink and continue to drive and continue to do so without even giving the events of a year ago anymore than a brief second thought as they drive to the liquor store or get their drinks from their best buddy..actions have consequences...and so do inactions.
teacher February 03, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Hello, Mike, "Reggie" was my cousin and he was a sweet, loving, and wonderful person with a bright future ahead of him! I didn't know Maddie but I have no doubt she was a wonderful kid. The consequence for Nick's actions were not tough enough. People need to realize that there are consequences for every action in life, some good, some bad. Mike and Maddie's lives were taken away. (By the way the dead have names, thank you.) Nick's consequence was a few years of jail time, and to me justice was not served. Maybe you feel different if you had this tragedy happen within your family. RIP MIKE and MADDIE. I think of you every single day.
Momofthree February 04, 2013 at 04:21 AM
I also feel this sentence was much too light!!! In reference to nkresident's post regarding the words spoken by Reggie's father, I agree that each child involved that night made some bad choices but as a driver, the lives of your passengers are in your hands and you owe it to them to get them to their destination safely. Nick knew he had no business driving and then to be involved in a cat and mouse game with another vehicle, truly reprehensible!!! Not to mention, why didn't he take it upon himself over these last few months to become involved with MADD and/or go speak at schools to educate others??? It shouldn't have to be court ordered... if you are truly sorry and remorseful for any hurt that you have caused others then you change your behavior, not continue it! I know that I can't believe everything people write on here but if Nick has continued to drink and party with his friends, then he has no intention of stopping and it's only a matter of about 7 years before he ends up drunk driving again. Truly a scary thought since in 7 short years, my youngest child will just be starting to drive.
teacher February 04, 2013 at 11:22 AM
I agree with "mom of three." I also don't think Mike's eulogy should be brought up in order for some people to TRY to prove their point in support of Nick! Just stop with the ignorance please.
nkresident February 09, 2013 at 04:19 AM
nkresident February 09, 2013 at 04:42 AM
There is nothing to TRY and prove here and there is no defense, for both drivers made bad decisions...period. There is no defense. The only ignorance i am aware of, is that people somehow think that this horrific accident will change any kids thinking or their approach to how they plan their weekends. Oh...it might make some think twice and those who knew Mike and Maddie directly will think about it with a more serious view, but the "it can't happen to me" thought process will always be there. Knowing that this will happen again someday somewhere is sad...thinking that this accident and their passings will change things is hopeful...but not likely.
Just a parent February 19, 2013 at 03:06 PM
I am a mother of one of Maddie's good friends. I remember the last time I was with her. I drove her home from school. I can't get her beautiful, innocent and perfect face out of my mind. I am breathless as a mother to think that in an instant someone's child is gone. I don't know Maddie or Mike's parents and family but I pray for them because as a parent I know their suffering is unbearable. I think unless you have something to say that will help console the families involved in this you should find other forums to express your thoughts on the sentencing of the driver. If you know him personally then help him. If you have a passion for helping teens who have issues with drinking then there are plenty of paces to get involved. Just because the Internet makes it possible to say almost anything doesn't make it the right thing to do. Have some compassion for the families and keep some things off the Internet.
Veronica Mahay April 06, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Really. Look David and Barbara Ruggieri directly in their eyes and say that to there face. For God sake Nicholas Whiteley killed Michael and Maddie( who wasn't even suppose to be in Nick Whiteley's truck.) He also killed Michael's future with his family and robbed them of their happiness, their laughter, their daughter in law that will never be or their grandchildren from Michael that will never be. Everyday they wake up with grief and heartache. People can say that they can only imagine. No one can imagine because your mind can't even take you there. The only people who really understand are the parent's of a child who has been killed by a drunk driver. They had to get through Michael's birthday on Nov.10th. Their first Christmas without Michael was heartbreaking for them,yet Nicholas Whiteley got to have Christmas with his family. Do you think he thought of Michael and Maddie? Maybe,Maybe not..... So, YES, JAIL time helps the families of Michael Ruggieri and Maddie Healey, 2 young, innocent people who Nicholas Whiteley KILLED behind the wheel of a truck, driving DRUNK. I would like to be a fly on the wall when you run into the Ruggieri's or the Healey's .
Veronica Mahay April 07, 2013 at 10:44 AM
Veronica Mahay April 07, 2013 at 11:26 AM
You would feel differently if it were your family member.
Veronica Mahay April 07, 2013 at 11:53 AM
You said it perfectly. Kids will only keep in mind this tragic accident for a short time and go back to their old bad habits. I hope some of Michael and Maddies friends will think twice before getting into a vehicle with someone who was drunk and this accident had some impact on them to make good decisions. This can happen to anyone.
Veronica Mahay April 07, 2013 at 12:02 PM
The eulogy was never in support of Nick. NEVER..... Why would it be? It was a eulogy in a church for the family and friends of Michael Ruggieri not for public record.
Veronica Mahay April 07, 2013 at 12:35 PM
NK Parent You only think it is just because it's not your family member. If it was you would think different. They have names. Michael Ruggieri and Maddie Healey! NEEDLESSLY PUNISHING HIM........HE KILLED 2 PEOPLE...Get Real.


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