Little Egg Harbor, NJ Woman Charged With DUI in Death of PA. Fireman
A woman from Little Egg Harbor is facing a host of charges in Pennsylvania after hitting and killing a firefighter and injuring several other first responders early Saturday morning on the Schuylkill Expressway early Saturday morning.
Jacquelyn Walker, 63, is charged with vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter and DUI. She is in jail on $500,000 bail.
Police say Walker told them she had driven from Little Egg Harbor to the Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrenceville Friday for a 4pm appointment at the Apple Store. 6ABC reports that Walker told police she got lost on her way home and had stopped twice for directions. She also stopped on I-295 to buy a soda.
She considered getting a room for the night but was unable to find one, so she continued to drive around, stopping at some point at a liquor store to buy a bottle of rum. Walker admitted to mixing the rum with her soda and drinking it while driving around.
Police say Walker has admitted that she still thought she was on I-295 in New Jersey hours later when she was actually traveling on the west bound lanes of I-76 in Pennsylvania.
At about 3:15am Saturday, police and fire crews responded to a DUI crash on the Schuylkill Expressway in Lower Merion Township.
While the first responders were handling this crash, Walker drove her jeep Grand Cherokee up along the highway's right shoulder and ran into firefighter Thomas Royds, two other firefighters and a state trooper before hitting one of the vehicles involved in the initial crash.
6ABC reports that an affidavit of probable cause says Walker got out of her vehicle looking 'clearly shaken" and put her hands over her face and repeated "Oh my God".
Police say Walker had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol.
An open bottle of rum was found between the seats of her vehicle. PA State Troopers say she then seen pouring alcohol out of a cup onto the road. Walker was taken into custody and gave consent to draw blood.
Thomas Royds, a firefighter with the Belmont Hills Fire Company, died a short time later at the hospital. The state trooper and two other firefighters are hospitalized with severe injuries.