Third-degree murder charges filed in I-76 crash that killed firefighter in Lower Merion

Third-degree murder charges have been filed in a crash on the Schuylkill Expressway that left a firefighter dead and three other emergency responders injured.   

Back on July 24, around 3 a.m., emergency crews responded to a crash involving two vehicles in the westbound lanes of I-76 in Lower Merion Township. 

Emergency crews had closed down a portion of the right lane on the two-way highway while they responded to the crash.

At 3:23 a.m., authorities say Jacquelyn Walker, 63, was operating a Jeep Grand Cherokee in the right lane as she approached the scene of the crash. They say she then crossed over the rumble strips on the side of the highway and plowed into the crash scene, striking three firefighters and a Pennsylvania State Trooper. 

The crash killed firefighter Tom Royds. 

Jacqueline Walker, 63 (Montgomery County District Attorney's Office)

Walker’s vehicle also struck a sedan that was involved in the original crash, pushing it another 30 feet before both cars came to a stop.

After further investigation, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele says Walker’s 2004 Jeep was in poor condition and three of four brakes on the SUV were not functional. Steele says records obtained by investigators showed Walker knew about the brake issues and declined to fix them. 

Investigators determined that the overall poor condition of the SUV and continued operation of the vehicle was a major contributing factor in the crash. 

Toxicology tests conducted on Walker’s blood showed no alcohol or drug impairment, authorities say. 

Walker was initially charged with driving under the influence, but those charges were later dropped. She now faces charges including third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle, four counts of aggravated assault by vehicle, and related charges. 



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