La Jolla teen has fourth surgery as friends recover at home after Bird Rock crash

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

One of three teens seriously injured in a drunk driving incident in Bird Rock Aug. 15 underwent her fourth surgery Wednesday morning.

Her friend who has been released from the hospital said he hopes the cast on his broken leg won’t be a hindrance in rehearsing for a play he’s participating in in New York City in six weeks.

The third teen was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Santiago Aguerre, whose 13-year-old daughter, Alani, was the most seriously injured when struck by an allegedly drunk driver Aug. 15, wrote in an e-mail Wednesday, “She’s healing on wounds, but a few large hematomas are becoming worse.

He added that “it’s been 10 days now here at Scripps (hospital) 24/7" since Alani, Myles Polger and Ian Brininstool were injured when the car driven by Ronald Troyer struck them as they walked along the sidewalk and then crashed into Cass Street Cafe.

Aguerre continued to express frustration at the lack of community awareness that a real drug and vagrancy problem exists in La Jolla.

“Drove by two ocean-front parking lots today,” he said. “No police, no lifeguard enforcing the law on drinking and smoking pot and, who knows what else. Later on, those bums are going to drive home, in whichever state they are, through the streets of La Jolla.”

Myles Polger’s mother Cindy said in an e-mail Thursday that her son “arrived home form the hospital yesterday afternoon for what will be a long rehab.”

His father Lorne added in a separate e-mail that their son “will have a long recovery ahead of him due to his multiple surgeries. He suffered an open fracture of his tibia, a broken fibula and a broken humerus.”

Myles is likely to be “in a wheelchair for a couple of months, and his leg injury will require that he be nonweight bearing on it for around three months,” he added.

The Polgers thanked the community for the support that’s been given and asked “that folks continue to keep Alani Aguerre and Ian Brininstool in their thoughts and prayers, as all three kids will need some help in getting through this unfortunate


He also is seeking support for “our endeavors in preventing these types of accidents in the future. No kid and no family should have to suffer through this.”

Meanwhile, Michael Brininstool, whose son Ian was the least seriously injured of the three, said “all of us are pretty angry,” adding, with a note of regret, that “the system has very few remedies.”

The senior Brininstool also expressed regret that there’s no guarantee that Troyer, 66, would never commit such an act again.

The suspect is a transient with a history of drunk driving who pleaded not guilty to one felony count of reckless driving causing injury and two allegations that he caused great bodily injury to two other people at his arraignment last week. He is set to return to court for a readiness conference has been set for 8:15 a.m. Aug. 31 in Department 30 of Superior Court. A preliminary hearing has also been set for Sept. 2 in Department 11.

“There’s the potential that he’ll fall through the cracks and be released in his early to mid-70s on parole and buy a car and start driving again,” he said.

Brininstool said a technological solution exists today - devices that can be installed in vehicles that preclude people from operating them if intoxicated.

“But it’s not necessarily practical and cost-effective for the car industries to put these in on their own,” he said. “But maybe with government intervention ... “

Ian, 14, a actor who’s appeared on TV and stage, said in a phone interview he will be in a full leg cast for about two months and a shorter, walking cast in about six weeks when he’s scheduled to be in New York City to begin rehearsing for a Christmas production at Radio City Music Hall.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to go,” he said.

Talking about the aftermath of the crash, he said, “I don’t feel upset about the man as much as I do about the system. He shouldn’t have been driving out on the street after all these DUIs. Police have to be more intent on the DUIs and make sure people with suspended licenses are watched more closely.”