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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Office of the Bucks County District Attorney

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Man Gets 3 to 6 Years for DUI / Homicide of Teen Driver

September 28, 2016

Contact: Gregg Shore, 215.348.6202, gdshore@buckscounty.org

A young man who was drunk and using amphetamines when he caused a crash that killed an Upper Southampton teen was sentenced Tuesday to serve three to six years in state prison.

Nicholas Marchetti, 24, of Holland, pleaded guilty in Bucks County Common Pleas Court to multiple charges in the death of 19-year-old Nicholas Esposito, including homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence.

At about 11 a.m. on Dec. 27, Esposito’s BMW sedan was stopped at a red light at Street and Churchville Roads when Marchetti’s Ford Mustang slammed into the BMW’s back end.

The impact spun the BMW into the rear of a Dodge Caravan containing six people, some of them children, who escaped serious injury. The passenger side of a Chrysler Cirrus also was struck in the four-car collision.

Esposito, pinned by the impact inside his vehicle, suffered catastrophic brain injuries and a broken leg. He underwent neurosurgery at St. Mary Medical Center, but remained unconscious and on a ventilator until he died on Jan. 21.

Marchetti, meanwhile, was found to have had a blood alcohol concentration of .199 percent. A straw with amphetamine and oxycodone residue was found in his pocket, and amphetamine was detected in his blood.

In a courtroom packed with friends and loved ones of both men, Judge Gary B. Gilman accepted the terms of a negotiated plea agreement and sentenced Marchetti to serve three to six years, followed by two years of probation.

Several of the 16 victim-impact statements received by Gilman were read in court. Esposito’s loved ones described him as an upbeat, caring and personable youth whose outgoing nature drew people to him.

He had just earned a promotion to a managerial position at Bunn’s Natural Foods in Southampton, where he had worked since age 14. The new position was to have begun a few days after the crash.

Store manager Alyssa Penecale recalled that the day Esposito was fatally injured, he had volunteered to work on his scheduled day off. After spilling a cup of coffee on his trousers, he had driven home for a quick change of clothes. He was on his way back to work when the collision happened.

For weeks, Penecale said, longtime customers left the store in tears after inquiring about what had happened to their favorite worker. “Everyone wanted their ‘Nick time,’” she said, weeping.

Nancy Hoyt, a passenger in the van ahead of Esposito’s car, said she suffered “survivor’s guilt” because the initial impact that cost him his life likely saved those in her vehicle.

“We were blessed, and they were not,” she said, referring to Esposito’s loved ones. “I feel so bad for his family.”

Anthony Esposito, the victim’s father, condemned Marchetti’s actions as “reckless” and “selfish.” He said he continues to struggle with the whims of fate that led his son to be at that intersection.

“All Nick did that morning was spill coffee,” he said in court. “Try living as a parent with that. Spilled coffee changed my life.”

Left unexplained was how Marchetti, a quiet, slender man who is one course short of an associate’s degree in business, wound up with a blood alcohol concentration more than twice the legal limit at 11 a.m. on a Sunday.

Marchetti, who had no prior criminal record, “made a terrible, terrible decision that was out of character for him,” said James Smith, his uncle and godfather. “He does have survivor’s remorse, I can assure you of that.”

Marchetti’s stepfather, Joseph Galanti, told Esposito’s family that Marchetti “has been in a shell since the day of this accident, and he does grieve your loss….We pray for your family, we sincerely do.”

Marchetti, his voice barely audible at times, said he is seeing a therapist to help him deal with extreme remorse and depression. He said he frequently has flashbacks about the accident and finds it hard to leave his house.

“If I could trade my life for his, I would do it in a heartbeat,” he told Esposito’s family. “If I could rewind…I’d do it in a minute.”

Gilman, calling Esposito “a remarkable person ... a bright light,” told his survivors that “there is no equivalency between a criminal sentence and the value of Nick’s life. The value of his life is infinite.”

Marchetti, the judge said, took that life with “absolute recklessness,” one of thousands of drivers who choose to drive drunk every year.

“People look the other way, and God, look at what happens in a case such as this,” he said. “It is reckless, it is selfish, it is unacceptable.”

Gilman said that when Marchetti is released from prison, a condition of his parole will be that he speak at least monthly to gatherings of young people about the dangers of drunken driving.

“I hope that this sentence preserves some sense of hope for you,” he told Marchetti.

“We have all been given a precious gift, and that is life,” the judge continued. “Unfortunately Nick Esposito doesn’t have that precious gift anymore. But you do, so give it some meaning.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Gregg Shore and investigated by Upper Southampton Police.

Approved for release by Matthew D. Weintraub, District Attorney.


  1. 33 Carol A Curran 28 Sep
    I think it is truly unfathomable that this predator received a slap  on the wrist. We all know the weight of a car and the damage it can cause. 
    Secondly, there were drugs-illegal drugs--involved.  If you have ingested any mind altering substance and purposely get into a vehicle and drive--that is a premeditated act.  An act that cost a young man his life.  
    Thou shalt not kill -----  using drugs and drinking and choosing to drive is not reckless or minor.  It is a major big deal.   I have plenty of respect for the district attorney's of Bucks County and the police they team up with so well.  NO respect for this judge's actions. 
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Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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