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Pascack Valley Daily Voice serves Emerson, Hillsdale, Montvale, Park Ridge, River Vale, Washington Township, Westwood & Woodcliff Lake

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News

Jersey Shore Driver In Deadly Head-On Crash Was High On Fentanyl, Prosecutor Says

Ashley Watkins of Monmouth County Photo Credit: Ocean County Prosecutor's Office
Last month's fatal head-on crash occurred at Lanes Mill Road and Greenwood Loop in Brick Township Photo Credit: Google Maps (streetview)

A 30-year-old woman from the Jersey Shore had fentanyl and other drugs in her system at the time of the May 9 crash that killed a 78-year-old woman in Brick Township, authorities announced Monday.

Ashley Watkins of Eatontown was heading south on Lanes Mill Road in a 2011 Toyota Camry when she crossed over the center line and struck a 2014 Dodge Caravan at Greenwood Loop head-on around 9:45 a.m., according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer.

The Dodge driver, Terry Penrod, 78, of Brick, suffered a broken leg and taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center while his wife, Nancy Penrod, was rushed to the same hospital, where she died.

Watkins sustained minor injuries and was taken to Ocean Medical Center for treatment, he said. While at Ocean Medical Center, Watkins consented to a draw of her blood.

The toxicology results of Watkins blood-draw were returned June 2 and revealed the presence of fentanyl, diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and marijuana in her blood stream, Biillhimer said, which made her "unfit to safely operate a motor vehicle" at the time of the crash.

Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Brick police arrested Watkins at her residence without incident, according to Billhimer.

Watkins was taken to the Ocean County Jail where she was being held pending a detention hearing.

She was charged with vehicular and DWI after fentanyl, Benadryl and marijuana was found in her blood, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer.

Watkins was also charged with strict liability vehicular homicide and was issued motor vehicle summonses for Driving While Intoxicated, reckless driving and failure to  stay in her lane, the prosecutor said.

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