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Eatontown Woman Charged with Vehicular Homicide

Brick Township

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on June 4, Ashley Watkins, 30, of Eatontown, was charged with Vehicular Homicide, relative to a motor vehicle crash that occurred in Brick Township on May 9 - resulting in the death of Nancy Penrod, 78, of Brick. 

Prosecutor Billhimer said that Watkins was also charged with Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide and Assault by Auto, and was issued motor vehicle summonses for Driving While Intoxicated, Reckless Driving and Failure to Maintain Lane.

According to county officials, on May 9 at approximately 9:45 a.m., Officers of the Brick Township Police Department responded to the intersection of Lanes Mill Road and Greenwood Loop for a serious motor vehicle crash with injuries. 

Through investigation, officers determined that a 2011 Toyota Camry operated by Watkins was traveling southwest on Lanes Mill Road when she crossed the centerline of the roadway and collided head-on with a 2014 Dodge Caravan, operated by Terry Penrod, 78, of Brick. Mr. Penrod’s wife, Nancy Penrod, was a passenger in the vehicle. 

According to officials, Mr. Penrod sustained a broken leg and was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune for treatment. Ms. Penrod was transported to Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township, where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased.

Officials said that Watkins sustained minor injuries from the crash, and was taken to Ocean Medical Center for treatment. 

According to officials, while at Ocean Medical Center, Watkins consented to a draw of her blood. On June 2, the toxicology results of Watkins blood-draw revealed the presence of fentanyl, diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and marijuana in her bloodstream, which rendered her unfit to safely operate a motor vehicle at the time of the crash on May 9. 

Officials said that on June 4, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Officers from the Brick Township Police Department arrested Watkins at her residence without incident. 

She was processed at Brick Township Police Headquarters and transported to the Ocean County Jail where she is presently lodged pending a detention hearing.