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Man Who Ran Over Fallen Wife While Drunk Gets 7 to 20 Years

September 22, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Robert D. James, 215.348.6332, rdjames@buckscounty.org

Andrew Ryan
      Andrew L. Ryan

A Warminster man with a history of alcoholism and domestic abuse will serve seven to 20 years in state prison for a bizarre assault on his wife that left her lying hopelessly brain-damaged on a roadway while he sped off intoxicated.

Andrew Lawrence Ryan, 32, was driving erratically on July 24, 2017, when his pickup truck swerved sharply in the 100 block of Lincoln Highway in Falls Township, sending his wife Robin hurtling backwards out of the passenger side of the cab.

Robin Ryan landed head-first on the pavement and was run over by the landscaping trailer her husband was towing. She suffered severe brain injuries, multiple broken bones and other trauma. The 32-year-old mother of a 2-year-old girl remains in an unresponsive, “minimally conscious” state, Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James said, with her loved ones already referring to her in the past tense.

James said the evidence strongly indicates that Ryan deliberately pushed his wife from the truck after they argued over finances.

“Could there be any more cold-hearted indifference to your wife?” said Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Brian T. McGuffin, who imposed the sentence on Wednesday. The judge noted that numerous strangers rushed to aid the stricken, unconscious woman while her husband fled to avoid a DUI.

“You didn’t care,” McGuffin said. “You didn’t care about your wife. You didn’t care about the mother of your daughter.”

Ryan pleaded no contest July 9 to felony charges of aggravated assault and leaving the scene of an accident involving death or injury, and to misdemeanor charges of recklessly endangering another person and driving under the influence, as well as reckless driving, a summary offense.

McGuffin sentenced him to serve seven to 20 years for aggravated assault, a concurrent three and one-half to seven years for leaving the scene, and a concurrent three to six months for DUI. Ryan’s blood alcohol concentration was measured at .12 percent after the assault.

Should Robin Ryan die as a result of her injuries, her husband likely will be back in court on homicide charges.

After reviewing Robin Ryan’s medical records, McGuffin described her prognosis as “incredibly grim.” To Andrew Ryan, the judge said: “I think it is likely, sir, that we will see this case again.”

Witnesses told police they heard tires screeching and saw the pickup truck speeding and swerving hard just before Robin Ryan fell from the cab. Several said she flew out of the truck backwards as if she had been pushed.   

Evidence further showed she was clinging to a safety door handle that broke off when the truck swerved sharply, throwing her from the cab, James said.

The truck was hauling a landscaping trailer that ran over her as Andrew Ryan sped away. State police stopped the truck on Trenton Road in Fairless Hills less than 10 minutes later.

Andrew Ryan told police that he had been drinking at a bar with his wife before leaving for Warminster to pick up their daughter. He said he had consumed four beers and two shots of tequila, and that the two of them were bickering about finances.

As they argued, he said, Robin Ryan got out of the truck briefly outside a grocery store. She got back in, he said, but failed to fully close the door.

He claimed that she had called him angrily on her cell phone after falling to the pavement, but witnesses said she was unconscious within seconds and made no phone call.  

It was far from the first time Ryan had attacked his wife or forced her out of his vehicle, James said.

Investigators found that Ryan had punched and pushed her out of his truck a month earlier, on June 26, 2017, leaving her on the side of the road in Falls Township. A witness had called 911 after seeing Ryan punching her in the face three to four times as the couple drove on Lincoln Highway.

Police looked for the truck, but could not find it. Robin Ryan later described the incident to a friend, saying her husband had pushed her out of the truck, causing her to fall on her back.

Other friends of the couple said they had seen many bruises on Robin Ryan, that her husband pushed her into a wall at their daughter’s first birthday party, and that he grew confrontational when drunk, sometimes causing fights at neighborhood gatherings.

Yet Robin Ryan repeatedly refused to call police or let friends do so, constantly telling them, “I got this,” McGuffin noted.

When Andrew Ryan became drunk, angry and violent, acquaintances referred to him as “Larry” – his middle name – saying he was a different person when sober.

“This Larry guy, he’s a nasty, angry, mean-spirited drunk,” McGuffin said, saying Ryan had a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality.

Despite the allegations of ongoing domestic abuse, Senior Deputy Public Defender Michael Lacson noted that Ryan had no prior criminal record, and that he has had an infraction-free record in prison. Mindful of the likelihood of a homicide prosecution in the future, Lacson said he had advised Ryan not to make a statement at his sentencing.

“It is a horrible and heartbreaking case,” Lacson said.

James argued that Ryan, who has been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, never has shown genuine remorse or concern for his wife or their daughter.

The child “has been constantly moved around in the past year, from home to home,” the prosecutor wrote in a sentencing memorandum. She “will never again be able to be tucked into bed by her mother, to feel her mother’s love…

“Robin Ryan will die from the injuries suffered as a result of these crimes committed by Andrew Ryan, and [their daughter] will have to deal with that as well. The impact on the victims of this case … will continue for years beyond any sentence this defendant will serve.”

As for Andrew Ryan, James said, “You’re supposed to protect your wife and children. This defendant did not … There is no one more important to Andrew Ryan than Andrew Ryan.”

The case was investigated by the Falls Township Police Department, the Bucks County Detectives and the District Attorney’s Crash Investigation Unit.

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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