A Bucks County man who drove his car through a Levittown house while high on heroin last December was sent to state prison on Monday.
The motorist, Edward John O’Brien Jr., entered an open guilty plea in Bucks County Common Pleas Court to aggravated assault while driving under the influence, aggravated assault by vehicle, and other lesser charges.
Around 6 p.m. on December 31, 2017, O’Brien slammed his 2016 Honda Civic into the home of Mary and Albert Albright. The impact was devastating to the home and the elderly couple, one of which was thrown across the living room and suffered a severe shoulder injury.
The moment of impact was a terrifying moment for the Albright’s.
“I mean, the car hit the back of his chair. I took six steps away from where I had been sitting” Mary Albright said. “We thought we were under attack.”
The car covered 50 yards of snowy ground before slamming through sliding glass doors and striking a lounge chair that Albert Albright was sitting in.
“I saw bright lights, and then there was an explosion,” said Albert Albright.
The wreckage and chaos that ensued allowed the Albright’s dog to get out of the house where it was subsequently killed by a passing vehicle.
Police were able to revive O’Brien, who was unconscious from overdosing on what he believed was heroin just moments before plowing into the elderly couple’s home. He was found with cocaine and fentanyl in his system.
This incident is just the most recent to occur in the 22-year-old’s troubled life. O’Brien said his father abandon him at a young age, and that both of his parents were addicts. O’Brien was currently out on bail for drug possession charges at the time of the crash.
O’Brien was sentenced to one to two years in state prison and four years of probation. Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. also ordered O’Brien to pay $3,700 in restitution and fines.
“You could have killed yourself and you could have killed others,” Bateman said. The judge ordered O’Brien to seek addiction treatment throughout his sentence, noting that heroin has taken control of his life.
Defense attorney Thomas Logan appealed for a lenient sentencing for his client, saying that he had “no mean spirit” toward the Albrights. O’Brien himself expressed remorse for the victims.
“The fact that I put two innocent people’s lives in danger and could have killed them or myself doesn’t sit right with me,” O’Brien admitted. “I just want the opportunity to get my life back together and get help.”
“My heart goes out to Edward,” Mary Albright said expressing sympathy. “I pray that he will choose to get the help that is out there.”
WBCB’s Jonny Hart contributed to this report.