Firefighter killed on I-76 puts spotlight on Pa.'s Move Over Law

Fines can range between $500 to $10,000 depending on frequency and severity of offense.
LOWER MERION TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- AAA is reminding drivers in Pennsylvania about enhancements to the Move Over Law after an accused drunk driver hit and killed a Lower Merion Township firefighter on the Schuylkill Expressway.

AAA spokesperson Jana Tidwell told Action News emergency responders are the most vulnerable road users because they exit their vehicles on the side of the road to rescue those in need.

Every state has a law requiring drivers to slow down and, when possible, move over when flashing lights are seen at the roadside.

Enhancements were made to Pennsylvania's Move Over Law back in April.

When vehicles are pulled over on the side of the road, motorists must move over into the left lane. If it is not possible to move, the motorists must reduce speed by 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.

The same precautions should be taken for any disabled vehicle. The motorist with a disabled vehicle must use two of the three following items: hazard lights, road flares or caution signs.

Fines can range between $500 to $10,000 depending on frequency and severity of offense.

A person's driver's license can also be suspended for 90 days for a third or subsequent offense.

New Jersey and Delaware each have their own Move Over Law.

Sixty-three-year-old Jacquelyn Walker is facing a dozen charges, including homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, according to arrest documents.

Troopers said Walker failed to move over Saturday around 3 a.m. while traveling along the Schuylkill Expressway near Waverly Road in Lower Merion Township.

Firefighters and state troopers were stopped in the right lane and shoulder with emergency lights activated while responding to a suspected DUI crash.

Traffic was passing slowly, but then investigators said Walker was seen driving her Jeep Grand Cherokee on the right shoulder where she hit and killed Belmont Hills Firefighter Thomas Royds.

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Authorities say a South Jersey woman admitted to drinking mixed alcoholic beverages before a crash that killed a firefighter and injured several other first responders, according to an arrest affidavit.



Two other firefighters and a state trooper were left with severe injuries including broken bones.

At the scene, Walker kept repeating "Oh my God" over and over, documents said.

Troopers said she got out of the Jeep and started pouring alcohol out of a cup onto the road.

Investigators also found an opened bottle of rum between the front and back seat.

According to arrest documents, Walker admitted to making mixed drinks in her car and drinking rum while driving around.

She claimed she lost control and hit the brakes, but they didn't work.

Firefighters and the community honored the life of Royds on Sunday with processional ceremonies.

Walker's bail has been set at $500,000.

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