A woman is facing new charges in the July crash on I-76 that killed Lower Merion Township Firefighter Thomas Royds and injured other responders.
Jacquelyn Walker, 63, of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey is now charged with third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle, four counts of aggravated assault by vehicle, nine counts of recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, and related charges.
Authorities filed charges after the July 24, 2021 crash on westbound Interstate 76 that killed Lower Merion Township Firefighter Thomas Royds and injured two other firefighters and a state trooper who were working on the berm area at the scene of a previous crash.
The LODD crash occurred shortly before 0330 hours on I-76. PA State Police and Belmont Hills Fire Company were called less than 20 minutes prior for the first crash. 2 cars were on the berm of the highway, while the fire truck—with all of its emergency lights activated— was parked in the right-hand travel lane and the marked State Police vehicle was in the same lane in front of the fire truck.
There were orange cones in place behind the fire truck that directed traffic into the left-hand travel lane of I-76. Members were on the paved roadway and the berm between the fire truck and the two cars involved in the original crash. Vehicles were moving through the emergency response area at approximately 10 mph in the left-hand travel lane.
At 0323 hours, a Jeep, driven by Walker, (in poorly maintained condition, I.E. 3 of 4 brakes out) was travelling in the right-hand travel lane as she approached the area, then drove over the rumble strips that demark the travel lane and berm, drove on the berm and plowed at a high rate of speed into the Firefighter and others. Her vehicle then squarely hit the rear-end of one of the cars involved in the previous crash, driving her Jeep’s front end into the car’s trunk and pushing both cars 30 feet before coming to a stop.
Toxicology tests conducted on Walker’s blood showed no alcohol or drug impairment. The crash investigation determined that the overall poor condition of her vehicle and the continued operation of the vehicle with the failing condition of the brake system was a major contributing factor to the crash that killed Royds and injured the other responders. Walker has been at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on $500,000 cash bail since the crash. She was arraigned today by Magisterial District Judge Henry Schireson, who declined to set bail.