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Eatontown Woman Indicted for Vehicular Homicide


Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on February 23, Ashley Watkins, 30, of Eatontown, was indicted on the charges of Vehicular Homicide, as well as Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide and Assault by Auto, relative to a motor vehicle crash that occurred in Brick Township on May 9, 2021, resulting in the death Nancy Penrod, 78, of Brick.

According to Prosecutor Billhimer, on May 9, 2021, 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. 

Prosecutor Billhimer said that through investigation, Officers determined that a 2011 Toyota Camry operated by Watkins was traveling southwest on Lanes Mill Road when she crossed the center line of the roadway and collided head-on with a 2014 Dodge Caravan, operated by Terry Penrod, 78, of Brick. 

According to Prosecutor Billhimer, Mr. Penrod's wife, Nancy Penrod, was a passenger in the vehicle. Mr. Penrod sustained a broken leg and was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune for treatment. 

Prosecutor Billhimer said that Ms. Penrod was transported to Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township, where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased.

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

According to Prosecutor Billhimer, while at Ocean Medical Center, Watkins consented to a draw of her blood. On June 2, 2021, the toxicology results of Watkins's 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. 

Prosecutor Billhimer said that on June 4, 2021, 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. 

Watkins was transported to the Ocean County Jail and later released as a consequence of New Jersey Bail Reform.