Police: Couple gave alcohol to Red Lion HS teens in fatal crash
A Windsor Township couple is accused of providing alcohol to two high-school football players who died last summer in a DUI crash, police said.
Jodie L. Tierney and Stephen D. Tierney, both 45, of 80 Percheron Drive, provided alcohol a number of times to a group of Red Lion-area teens, including their two sons, and allowed the teens to drink in their home, state police allege in charging documents.
The Tierneys are free on $25,000 unsecured bail each and were arraigned Tuesday afternoon by District Judge Scott Laird, according to court documents. Unsecured bail means they didn't have to post any cash to remain free but could forfeit that amount if they miss court hearings.
Each is charged with two counts each of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment and one count of furnishing minors with alcohol and corruption of minors.
State police allege the Tierneys gave alcohol to Red Lion Area Senior High football players Nicholas Mankin, 16, and Stone Hill, 17, who were killed in a fiery crash when the minivan they were in crashed into a utility pole in the 200 block of Slab Road in Lower Chanceford Township just after 7 p.m. June 16.
Police said Stone, who lived on Thompson Road in Lower Chanceford Township, was driving the minivan, and that testing determined his blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash 0.094 percent. In Pennsylvania, adults are driving drunk at 0.08 percent; those under 21 can't drink at all.
Speeding: Stone was driving between 64 mph and 73 mph when he lost control of the minivan while going into a curve, according to charging documents filed by state police Trooper Jonathan Colarusso. Stone was in the center of the road when he lost control, the trooper wrote.
Colarusso attributed the cause of the crash to excessive steering for the speed Stone was traveling, exacerbated by alcohol impairment.
Local attorney Douglas Bare is representing the couple. Police said the Tierneys' teenage sons were acquaintances of the victims.
"A number of the facts are incorrect in the affidavit, which we believe will require them to be found not guilty," he said. "It's a very difficult, tragic situation."
Nick, of New Bridgeville Road in Chanceford Township, and Stone died instantly in the crash, after which the minivan burst into flames, officials said.
Both Nick and Stone — who were close friends — would have been seniors, playing for the varsity football team, according to their coach, Jesse Shay.
Stone was a potential third-year starter and played middle linebacker and also played baseball, Shay said in the days after the crash. Nick was a potential second-year starter and played offensive guard, the coach has said.
The allegations: Charging documents state that social media accounts of the victims' friends seemed to indicate they had been given alcohol by adults, and an investigation was launched.
The 11-month investigation uncovered photos from social media of teens drinking, including the Snapchat accounts of both victims, police said. Some of those photos were taken the day Stone and Nick were allegedly drinking in the Tierneys' home, police allege.
The teens in those photos were identified and interviewed, and they told police the Tierneys not only knew they were drinking but that Jodie Tierney bought them alcohol "on multiple occasions," documents state.
One of the teens told troopers Jodie Tierney never stopped them from drinking, never reprimanded them for it and never asked them to turn over their car keys or spend the night there, documents allege.
Numerous minors, including Stone and Nick, "would frequently drink alcohol underage at the defendants' residence without fear of repercussion or consequence," charging documents allege.
Before the crash: In the hours before the fatal crash, at least 10 teens were drinking at the Tierneys' home, including a juvenile who told police he saw Stone and Nick drinking numerous alcoholic drinks before the fatal crash, documents state. The alcohol included Bacardi rum, police said.
Jodie Tierney bought drinks for the teens between January 2014 and June, including Redd's Ale, Busch beer and Four Loko, documents state.
Police said they found a photo of Stephen Tierney, his two teenage sons and other juveniles, with his older son "in possession" of a case of Bud Light.
Several teens allegedly told police they attended parties at the Tierney home where kids got drunk.
One of the teens became so drunk he vomited and passed out, according to documents. His father was called and ended up carrying the boy out of the Tierney home, documents allege.
The owner of Cape Horn Road Beverage confirmed for state police that Jodie Tierney bought alcohol consistent with what teens told police she'd bought for them, according to documents.
Parents 'unaware': The parents of all the teens interviewed by police said they were unaware their children allegedly were drinking at the Tierney home, police said — including Stone's and Nick's parents.
"The victims' parents ... reported that if they had been made aware of the circumstances concerning alcohol consumption at the defendants' residence, they would not have permitted their sons to visit or to be under the defendants' care or supervision," Colarusso wrote in documents. "Furthermore, the parents of Stone Hill and Nicholas Mankin were under the impression that their children were under the direct supervision of at least one of the defendants the date of the fatal crash."
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.