Former Delco assistant D.A. charged in hit-run

Posted: November 14, 2011

It all started with drinks after a long week at work and ended with a 14-year-old Havertown boy lying unconscious on a busy Delaware County street.

On Monday, former Delaware County Assistant District Attorney Michael Donohue, 31, of Havertown, was charged with being the driver of the car involved in a Nov. 4 hit-and-run that left the boy hospitalized with serious injuries.

Donohue has been charged with aggravated assault, accident involving death or personal injury, recklessly endangering another person, and related crimes. He was released on $25,000 bail.

It was "the ultimate cowardly act," said Michael J. Chitwood, Upper Darby Township superintendent of police.

On Nov. 9, Donohue resigned from the District Attorney's Office, where he had worked for five years.

The District Attorney's Office, in a statement, said it had received information about the hit-and-run Sunday and contacted Upper Darby police. The office had no further comment. The case has been referred to the state Attorney General's Office for prosecution.

Attempts to reach Donohue were not successful.

"Just because charges are filed against him doesn't mean he is guilty of those charges," said William Davis of Media, Donohue's attorney.

On the day of the accident, according to court documents, Donohue and seven friends met at a Media area bar-restaurant after work. Donohue, who arrived around 4:30 p.m., was drinking beer, according to witnesses.

Around 9 p.m., Donohue left the bar with a friend, who is not identified in the police report. Each picked up food and drove separately to an unidentified Haverford firehouse. After eating, with Donohue behind the wheel of his Jeep Cherokee, the pair went to an Upper Darby firehouse. Neither firehouse is referred to by name in court documents. They later returned to the Haverford firehouse. At 10:15 p.m. Donohue left the firehouse, according to court documents.

Five minutes later, Donohue called the friend on his cellphone. Donohue told the friend he was "headed toward Upper Darby." The two were talking for a short while when the friend heard Donohue say something profane. A few seconds later the friend heard a beeping sound, like when a car door is opened. Someone said "are you OK, then the phone went dead," according to court documents.

At 10:23 p.m., the victim and three friends were walking home when they attempted to cross Township Line Road near Bryan Street. The victim was hit by the front driver's side of an SUV. Two witnesses said the driver stopped for a second and then left; another said the driver "just kept going," according to court documents.

The impact split the teen's skateboard in two, Chitwood said.

"Never once did he go back to see what happened to the victim," Chitwood said of the driver.

The teenager was taken to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with serious injuries that included bleeding on the brain, two fractures of the hip, and numerous lacerations. He has since been released. Chitwood said his prognosis was good.

After being contacted Nov. 6 by the friend who was with Donohue that night, police found Donohue at his residence in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. They also found a damaged Jeep Cherokee that belongs to him in the garage. When he was asked to go to the Upper Darby police station, Donohue declined and said he would make arrangements to come in later. He gave permission for the Jeep to be towed by police, according to court documents.

Donohue grew up in Delaware County and attended Monsignor Bonner High School. He attended Villanova University and Cooley Law School in Michigan, according to Davis.


Contact staff writer Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149, mschaefer@phillynews.com, or @MariSchaefer on Twitter.

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