LOWER MERION, Pa. (CBS) — One firefighter was killed and other first responders were injured by a suspected drunk driver on Interstate 76 in Lower Merion Township just as they were responding to another DUI crash.
Captain Thomas Royds was a career fireman who would volunteer as a firefighter on his days off. His end of watch came Saturday morning after responding to a crash on I-76.
Just before 3:30 a.m. Saturday, units were getting prepared to leave the initial two-vehicle accident on the Schuylkill Expressway when officials say Jacqueline Walker drove her Jeep Grand Cherokee up the right shoulder, striking a Pennsylvania state trooper, three firefighters, and the Nissan Altima that was involved in the initial crash.
Royds went into cardiac arrest at the scene, officials say. He was transported to Paoli Hospital, where he died a few hours later.
The other two firefighters were flown to Penn Presbyterian for surgery. The state trooper is also at Penn. He was taken by ground ambulance.
Fire crews from Belmont Hills and Gladwyne Fire Companies were blocking the right lane and shoulder so officers could conduct their investigation. The scene was about to be cleared when they say Walker crashed into the blocking created by the fire department.
“We got up and provide blocking, what we call, for the troopers so they’re kept safe from the vehicles passing,” Lower Merion Fire Department Chief Chas McGarvey said. “And we’ll take a lane up so the trooper can do what he needs to do with the driver.”
Walker was taken into custody at the scene. She is being charged with homicide by vehicle and related charges.
The drivers in the original crash are also in custody. Both have been charged with DUI.