Horror crash | 

Derry drunk-driver faces up to 40 years in US jail for crash that left teen with brain damage

Brolly (24), a joiner from Dungiven, careered head on into their car at 70mph while attempting to overtake

Shane Brolly

John Toner

A drunk from Northern Ireland who crashed into a car full of schoolgirls leaving one of them with brain damage faces the prospect of spending the next 40 years behind bars.

All four girls in the car were severely injured in the March 2021 smash in Pennsylvania caused by Shane Brolly, who had downed up to 22 drinks before getting behind the wheel of a pick-up truck.

One girl suffered brain damage while the other three endured life changing injuries as a result of the crash.

Brolly (24), a joiner from Dungiven, careered head on into their car at 70mph while attempting to overtake.

He had no licence and should not have been in the US as his visiting visa had expired the previous week.

Brolly fled to the US at the end of 2019 while awaiting sentence for another drunk-driving incident near Dungiven when he led police on a 114mph chase.

The aftermath of the crash caused by Shane Brolly in the US

At Bucks County Court in Pennsylvania earlier this month he pleaded guilty to numerous charges, including aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence and causing an accident involving injury.

He was remanded in custody at the Bucks County Correctional Facility and it has since emerged he is due to be sentenced for his crimes in April.

Sources in the US told this newspaper they “wouldn’t be surprised” if he ends up spending “20 to 40 years” in a state prison over the horrific smash.

During previous court hearings a judge was told how Brolly was drunk behind the wheel of his cousin’s pick-up truck that crossed a central reservation line and smashed into an oncoming car.

He was hospitalised with serious injuries that required emergency surgery. However his victims, all aged 17 at the time, came off far worse.

One suffered brain damage, and each endured life-threatening conditions that changed their lives and will continue to need medical care and rehabilitation.

Brolly was almost three times over the legal limit. He had spent the day drinking while playing golf before visiting two pubs, and was so drunk later that a barman refused to continue serving him.

Despite pleas from friends not to drive home, and an offer from one to pay for a taxi, Brolly got behind the wheel of the pick-up. This was after he texted his cousin, who owned the vehicle, telling him he was too drunk to drive.

Brolly’s reckless behaviour mirrors his actions in Northern Ireland prior to fleeing to the US.

Accused Shane Brolly from Dungiven

He had been due to be sentenced at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court for drunk driving in October 2019, but failed to show as he was on the other side of the Atlantic.

On this occasion a drunken Brolly led cops on a 114mph chase around the Co Derry countryside lasting 16 miles.

He was only caught when police deployed a stinger device across the road.

After pleading guilty to dangerous driving and drunk driving in September 2019, District Judge Peter King told him: “You are clearly a menace to road users”.

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