L. MERION TWP., Pa. - A woman is facing new charges after an investigation of a crash on I-76 that killed a firefighter and injured other first responders, according to a news release from the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

Jacquelyn Walker, 63, of Little Egg Harbor, 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, the DA's office said.

Authorities filed charges after the July 24 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, according to the news release.

The new charges come after the Pennsylvania State Police and Montgomery County Detective Bureau joint investigation of the crash and Walker’s behavior leading up to it revealed new information, the DA's office said.

The crash occurred shortly before 3:30 a.m. on westbound Interstate 76 at mile marker 335, which is in between the Gladwyne and Conshohocken exits. Pennsylvania State Police and Belmont Hills Fire Company were called to the area less than 20 minutes prior at 3:06 a.m. for a crash between two cars. The two 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, according to the news release.

There were orange cones in place behind the fire truck that directed traffic into the left-hand travel lane of I-76, the DA's office said. Emergency personnel 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 3:23 a.m., a Jeep, driven by Walker, was travelling in the right-hand travel lane as she approached the emergency response 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 four emergency responders, killing one and severely injuring three, according to the news release. 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, the DA's office said.

The ensuing crash investigation and reconstruction found that the 2004 Jeep was in poor condition overall with severe rusting and other deficits, authorities said. Three of the four brakes on the Jeep were not functional, and previous records and evidence revealed that she knew about the brake system deficit, yet she declined to fix the brakes and continued to drive the Jeep, the DA's office said. Additionally, there was no evidence of any pre-impact evasive steering by Walker, according to the news release. Rather, she continued to drive straight into and through the firefighters and state trooper, ultimately colliding with the car, the DA's office said.

Toxicology tests conducted on Walker’s blood showed no alcohol or drug impairment, authorities said. 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 first responders, according to the news release.

Walker has been at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on $500,000 cash bail since the crash. She was arraigned Tuesday by Magisterial District Judge Henry Schireson, who declined to set bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m., Oct. 14, 2021 before Judge Schireson.

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