UPPER MERION TWP, Pa. - Two young volunteer firefighters and a Pennsylvania State Trooper are recovering after a driver slammed into a group of first responders who were aiding an accident on the Schuylkill Expressway last weekend.
Firefighters on July 24 were called to the 335-mile marker in Lower Merion Township just after 3:30 a.m. for reports of an accident with injuries.
As crews were preparing to leave, authorities say a vehicle driven by Jacqueline Walker cut through the crash scene and plowed into three firefighters and a state trooper. Walker allegedly mixed rum into her soda and drank it while driving and smelled of alcohol, police said.
According to officials, veteran firefighter Tom Royds of the Belmont Hills Fire Company went into cardiac arrest and died at Paoli Hospital. He was honored days later with a procession through Lower Merion Township.
Officials from the Lower Merion Fire Dept. said 17-year-old volunteer firefighter Sam Shaffer suffered serious head injuries including an orbital fracture to his right eye, brain bleed and a severe concussion. He also tore his ACL during the crash.
Shaffer was amazingly released from the hospital on Wednesday, according to a Friday update from the department.
A day later, firefighters say 22-year-old Alex Fischer was also released from the hospital after he sustained a severe leg injury that will require several weeks of physical therapy.
Upper Merion Township Fire Department did not have any information on the condition of the state trooper who was taken to the hospital by ambulance after the crash.
Authorities say Walker faces several charges including homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that authorities initially charged Walker with DUI. They have since dropped those charges.