HELPING OUR ELDERS'Elderly care' has many faces

Staff photo illustration by J. Matthew Byrd/mbyrd@PhoenixvilleNews.com

POTTSTOWN - A man accused of trying to run down people outside a party on New Year's Eve has been ordered to stand trial on attempted murder charges.

Ronald Rubright Jr., 24, of Phoenixville, was arrested shortly after police responded to a pedestrian being struck in an alley behind West Vine Street in Stowe at 12:30 a.m. on New Year's Day, police said.

Rubright, who has been held in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in lieu of $250,000 bail since his arrest, is accused of driving his car recklessly up and down the crowded alley several times after a fight broke out at a party.

Meicola Murphy, who lives at the West Vines Street home where the party was held, testified Friday that she suffered bruises when one of the car's tires ran over her foot.

The prosecution argued that Rubright tried to kill Murphy that night; he is charged with attempted murder.

Rubright's friends and family, however, say Rubright was trying to rescue a friend, Albert Sandt Jr., who was being beaten up in the alley.

Police said they are investigating the assault on Sandt, but have not made an arrest.

Rubright was invited to the New Year's Eve party earlier in the evening while drinking with Sandt at the China Bar on High Street, according to testimony.

Robert Manley, who lives with Murphy and several others at the house where the party was held, testified that he invited Rubright, but not Sandt.

"I told Ronnie he could come, but I didn't want his friend there," Manley said.

Manley said he and Sandt had an earlier run-in during which Sandt threatened him. Both Sandt and Rubright showed up at the party, however, and that's when the fight broke out, according to testimony.

Manley admitted that he fought with Sandt. While the fight was going on, people crowded in the alley to watch and that's when Rubright drove up in his car. Witnesses said the car was going about 45 mph.

The crowd of people included children as young as 3, according to testimony. Party-goer Brian Goodfellow said he was worried someone was going to get hit.

"I was trying to get the children back onto the porch and out of the way," Goodfellow testified. At one point, Goodfellow said he threw a trash can at the car's windshield as it drove toward him.

Manley testified that he threw a brick through the car's windshield as it drove past him.

Rubright and Sandt left before police arrived, but the car was spotted 20 minutes later on Fifth Street in Pottstown, according to police.

West Pottsgrove Police Officer Robert Leh went to Fifth Street to investigate and saw Rubright walking on the sidewalk. Rubright admitted to driving the car in the alley, according to Leh.

"(Rubright) said he was trying to save his friend's life," Leh testified.

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