Funeral held for firefighter killed in crash on I-76

A funeral was held on Saturday for a Montgomery County firefighter who police say was killed by a driver while he was aiding a two-car crash on the Schuylkill Expressway over the weekend.

Tom Royds was laid to rest in Lower Merion Township where he had served as a firefighter. 

State police said emergency responders were called shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday to a collision involving two cars in the westbound lanes of I-76 in Lower Merion Township. Police said the trooper was speaking with one of the drivers when a sport utility vehicle drove up on the right shoulder and hit the trooper, three firefighters and one of the cars.

The trooper and two firefighters were taken to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and another firefighter was taken to Paoli Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, police said. 

The Lower Merion Township fire department identified him as Tom Royds of Belmont Hills Fire Company and said he went into cardiac arrest at the scene. The condition of the other injured emergency responders wasn't immediately available. 

Police said the SUV driver was arrested at the scene. Jacqueline Walker was initially charged with vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, aggravated assault by vehicle, reckless endangering and other counts. (Editor's Note: Driving under the influence charges originally filed against Walker have since been dropped). 

In October, authorities charged Walker with third-degree murder.

Court documents list the defendant, who turned 63 on Saturday, as residing in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, while state police said she is from Pemberton, New Jersey.

Walker was taken to Montgomery County Prison in lieu of $500,000 bail. Court documents indicate that she requested representation by the public defender’s office, which could not be reached over the weekend; a listed number for her could not be found Saturday.

Police said both drivers involved in the initial crash were charged with driving under the influence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that authorities initially charged Walker with DUI. They have since dropped those charges. 



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