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Former local football star pleads to DUI; faces large restitution bill

Published August 15. 2013 05:04PM

A former area high school football star, who had signed to play professional ball, pleaded guilty in Schuylkill County court Wednesday to drunk driving, stemming from an accident in which he and another driver sustained serious injuries.

Phillip Michael Ryan IV, 24, of 402 Hazle St., Tamaqua, pleaded to one count of driving under the influence (DUI) of a controlled substance and was sentenced by Judge James P. Goodman to serve one to six months in the county prison with the sentence to begin Friday, Aug. 30, at 9 a.m.

Ryan also pleaded to one count of recklessly endangering another person and was sentenced to serve an additional 18 months on probation.

Goodman also ordered Ryan to pay a fine of $1,000, pay $100 to Substance Abuse Education fund, $50 to Catastrophe fund, a $50 monthly supervision fee, attend alcohol highway safety school, perform 40 hours of community service, and driver's license suspended 12 months.

Ryan also faces a restitution bill. He was ordered to make restitution of $85,728.21 to Gary Boettger Jr., operator of the other car involved in the crash.

On two summary charges, careless driving, he was fined $250, and restrictions on having an open container of alcoholic beverage in his vehicle he was fined $25 plus $100 in costs.

Ryan was cited by Tamaqua Patrolman Peter Wysochansky following the crash, which occurred about 11:43 p.m. on June 16 at the intersection of SR309 and the Taggertsville Road. Police said Ryan crossed the double yellow line and crashed head-on into Boettger's vehicle.

Boettger was flown to St. Luke's Hospital, Fountain Hill, where he was admitted to the intensive care unit. Ryan also suffered injuries and was taken to the Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township.

Ryan was an offensive lineman at Marian High School, Hometown, and played at the University of Connecticut. After graduation from college he signed a contract with the National Football League's Cincinnati Bengals in 2012. However, he was released by the Bengals that same year.

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