Crime & Courts

Spring Grove man's aggravated DUI trial set to conclude Monday

Ryan Heineman, 36, of the 38000 block of North Nippersink Drive, Spring Grove
Ryan Heineman, 36, of the 38000 block of North Nippersink Drive, Spring Grove

The trial of a man accused of driving under the influence in connection with a fatal 2016 crash is expected to end Monday, attorneys have said.

Jurors heard three days’ worth of testimony last week regarding a
June 26, 2016, crash that killed Spring Grove-area woman Tanya McDonough.

The woman’s neighbor, Ryan Heineman, 36, could be sentenced to as many as 14 years in prison if he is convicted of aggravated driving under the influence in connection with McDonough’s death.

Throughout the trial, police testified that Heineman told them he did not remember driving during the crash and only recalled coming to in a ditch afterward.

Prosecutors tried to pin Heineman as the driver, however, through DNA swabs that were taken from the driver’s and passenger side airbags and seat belts after the crash. McDonough’s friends and family also testified that the 33-year-old woman was “petrified” of driving and didn’t have a license.

“She had bad anxiety at even the thought of driving,” said McDonough’s fiancé, Thomas Rice.

Heineman’s attorney, Martin Lascola, has declined to comment while the trial is ongoing.

Several people who attended McDonough’s birthday party that day testified that everyone, including Heineman, had been drinking late the night before and early into the morning.

A now-15-year-old high school student was among the group of people who went to find McDonough after she reportedly left the party on foot after an argument with her fiancé.

Although they eventually found her and brought her back to the party, witnesses said McDonough left a second time with Heineman, who later called the woman’s family in a confused state, witnesses said.

He knew he’d been in a crash but was unsure where he was or how he specifically had gotten there, said McDonough’s aunt, Michelle Moberg.

Police later determined that Heineman crashed his vehicle into a tree on Route 12 east of Sunset Road while his blood-alcohol content was 0.150 percent.

A passing driver discovered the wreck about 6 a.m. and alerted authorities, who found Heineman in the woods near his vehicle.

Heineman, of the 38000 block of North Nippersink Drive, Spring Grove, has been free on bond since June 29, 2016. 

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