LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa.-- Police have filed charges against the woman responsible for causing a crash that killed two Warwick High School students and injured a third in October.
Debra Slaymaker-Walker, 63, is facing two counts of criminal homicide, homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless driving charges among other related charges.
"It’s a laundry list of sustained reckless driving which really has lead to my decision to authorize the third degree murder charges in this case,”District Attorney Craig Stedman said Thursday.
On October 26, eight cars were involved in a crash on the 200 block of West Orange Street.
Police determined Slaymaker-Walker was driving between 73 and 77 mph, and steered toward the Chevy Sonic just prior to impact. Additionally, police found nothing to indicate Slaymaker-Walker attempted to brake prior to the collisions. One motorist in the line of traffic reported his truck “shook” as the Kia passed at such an extreme speed.
The area was a posted 25-mph zone.
Two Warwick High School students, Jack Nicholson and Meghan Keeney, died as a result of the crash.
Police said that a driver, later identified as Slaymaker-Walker, was reported for driving erratically just minutes before the crash.
"What we’ve got is a pattern of sustained reckless driving to the obvious risk of the death and injury to numerous individuals," added Stedman.
Slaymaker-Walker is not charged with DUI and investigators are making no statement at this time on motive, or if one exists.
Prior to the collisions near the high school, Slaymaker-Walker fled from police who attempted to stop her in Warwick Township, about a mile west on Route 772, following 9-1-1 reports that the Kia was travelling erratically and extremely slowly for the roadway.
In that area, Slaymaker-Walker’s Kia struck a school bus full of students and a driver. No one was injured in that crash. Slaymaker-Walker did not stop at the scene.
“We are not presenting today a specific theory on her motive or state of mind at the time of the crash,” said Stedman. “We have an enormous amount of information and took much time and precision in determining these to be the appropriate charges. Illustrating specific motive is not relevant or necessary to prove charges as filed.”
“We are following the facts and what we know we can prove,” Stedman added. “And what we can prove is sustained recklessness that led to these tragic deaths.”
Slaymaker-Walker sustained very serious injuries in the crash and is at an undisclosed medical facility. She is unable to operate a vehicle.