Driver in fatal Warwick crash charged with homicide

Warwick press conference.JPG

Police have filed homicide charges against the driver involved in a fatal crash that killed two Warwick High School students in October, according to court documents.

Debra Slaymaker-Walker, 63, of Mount Joy is charged with two counts of criminal homicide, two counts of homicide by vehicle and two counts of involuntary manslaughter, among numerous other charges.

The fatal crash happened just after school let out on Oct. 26.

Warwick High School students, Jack Nicholson and Meghan Keeney, were killed. Three other people, including another student, were also injured in the crash that happened on West Orange Street.

According to the criminal complaint, Slaymaker-Walker was driving a black Kia Sportage that overturned on its roof after hitting a Chevrolet Sonic that contained Nicholson, Keeney and one other student.

Nicholson and Keeny died from their injuries. The third student was hospitalized with a serious bodily injury.

According to police, collision reconstruction showed Slaymaker-Walker was driving between 73-77 mph, around 3 times the posted speed limit, when she hit the Chevrolet.

The reconstruction also showed that she intentionally steered her car left towards the Chevrolet, possibly to avoid a telephone pole, and there was no evidence of her applying the brakes prior to the crash.

Post-crash inspection of Slaymaker-Walker's car eliminated any possible mechanical failures that could have caused the left-steering motion into the Chevrolet.

A few minutes before the crash, police responded to a 911 call regarding Slaymaker-Walker driving recklessly on Route 772.

Police say the vehicle was traveling slowly, which prompted Northern Lancaster County Regional Police to attempt to pull over the car.

Instead of stopping, Slaymaker-Walker sped up on Route 772, eventually striking a school bus in Warwick Township before continuing on to Lititz.

According to police, students were on the bus, but no one was injured.

One witness contacted police to tell them that on the date of the crash she encountered Slaymaker-Walker stopped in her car in a travel lane.

The woman said she walked up to the car and attempted to get Slaymaker-Walker's attention, but Slaymaker-Walker did not respond and made no acknowledgment of her.

Slaymaker-Walker was hospitalized after the crash, and was not conscious or alert, according to authorities.

Police were waiting for investigators to speak with her about the crash before releasing her name.

On two separate occasions an investigator attempted to interview Slaymaker-Walker about the events leading up to the crash, but both times she claimed to have no recollection of the crash, according to police.

Police say Slaymaker-Walker's repeated and sustained reckless driving prior to the crash, and the absence of bad weather, road conditions or vehicle mechanical failures makes her criminally responsible.

Slaymaker-Walker is also charged with two counts of aggravated assault, one count of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, and fleeing or attempting to elude an officer. She also faces numerous traffic violations.

A press conference is scheduled to get underway at 10:45 a.m.


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