Little Egg Harbor, NJ Woman Sentenced in Death of Pa Fireman
A woman from Little Egg Harbor was sentenced Thursday to 12 to 24 years in prison after hitting and killing firefighter Tom Royd, 48, and injuring three other first responders on the Schuylkill Expressway in suburban Philadelphia in July 2021
Jacquelyn Walker, 64, pleaded guilty in October to third-degree murder, aggravated assault by vehicle, and reckless endangerment.
Judge William Carpenter said that Walker had shown little remorse after driving her 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee with its faulty brakes that day.
At about 3:15 am on July 24, 2021, 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 reported that an affidavit of probable cause said Walker got out of her vehicle looking 'clearly shaken", put her hands over her face, and repeated, "Oh my God".
An open bottle of rum was found between the seats of her vehicle. PA State Troopers said she was seen pouring alcohol out of a cup onto the road.
Police said Walker told them she had driven from Little Egg Harbor to a Quakertown mall for an appointment at the Apple Store. 6ABC reported at the time that Walker told police she got lost on her way home and had stopped twice for directions.
Royds, a firefighter with the Belmont Hills Fire Company, died a short time later at the hospital. He was a 30-year volunteer firefighter and the father of three.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Walker made this apology in court.
"I'm not trying to make this devastating accident any softer; my only wish is to have Tom Royds' family not hate me any longer. I'm truly sorry."