News

York Co. man pleads in fatal teen crash case; wife also charged

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 10, 2017 3:27 AM
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(York) -- A man charged along with his wife following the deaths of two teenagers in a sport utility vehicle crash more than two years ago has pleaded guilty to reduced charges of having allowed teenagers to drink at his home on a previous occasion.

Stephen Tierney, 46, entered the plea Monday in York County to corruption of minors and selling or furnishing liquor to minors, with more serious charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment to be dropped at his Aug. 21 sentencing.

Prosecutors said the plea was an open one, meaning the sentence will be up to the judge.

Jodie Tierney, 46, is scheduled for trial on charges of child endangerment, involuntary manslaughter and related offenses stemming from the June 2015 crash that killed 17-year-old Stone Hill and 16-year-old Nicholas Mankin in Lower Chanceford Township.

Prosecutors allege that both teens -- and eight others -- had been drinking at the couple's home the night before the crash while the couple was home and on the day of the crash while they weren't there.

Tierney told the judge he never bought alcohol for the group of Red Lion Area High School students who hung out with his sons at his home, but he acknowledged having gone to the basement in April 2015 and seen six students drinking there.

"I did not stop it in my own house," he said. "That's the only time I was aware of. The other times, I had no idea."

Chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker told Cook the prosecution hadn't alleged Tierney was the one who bought alcohol for the juveniles, but said Tierney was aware drinking was going on because he his wife discussed it. "He did not plead guilty to the totality of the factual circumstances," Barker said.

Defense attorney Tom Kelley said he had been prepared for trial, but that his client chose to enter a plea instead. His wife's attorney, Doug Bare, said Stephen Tierney's plea will have no effect on Jodie Tierney's case.

An earlier story appears below. 

(York) -- Jury selection begins today for the trial of a York County couple accused of allowing alcohol consumption by two teenagers who died last summer after their sport utility vehicle hit a utility pole, flipped and burst into flames.

Stephen and Jodie Tierney, both 46, are charged in York County with child endangerment, involuntary manslaughter, corruption of minors and providing alcohol to minors stemming from the June 2016 crash that killed 17-year-old Stone Hill and 16-year-old Nicholas Mankin about in Lower Chanceford Township..

Prosecutors allege that both teens -- and eight others -- had been drinking at the couple's home the night before the crash while they were home and on the day of the crash while they weren't there. The commonwealth argues that the Tierneys had and violated a "duty of care" and were responsible for the deaths.

They allege in court documents that their home was "a place where teenagers felt that they could hang out and engage in underage drinking with no repercussions or concern of their parents finding out about their activities."

Defense attorneys have said in court documents that the Tierneys weren't home when alcohol was being consumed on the day of the crash, didn't purchase it for them, didn't know the two were impaired and had no reason to try to prevent them from driving. Two witnesses have testified that they didn't appear intoxicated.

Tests determined that the driver's blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash was 0.094 percent. In Pennsylvania, adults are driving drunk at 0.08 percent; drivers under 21 can't drink at all.

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