A Pennsylvania woman is facing murder charges after a fatal car crash claimed the lives of two Pennsylvania State Troopers and a pedestrian early Monday.
The Pennsylvania State Police announced on Tuesday that Jayana Tanae Webb, 21, would be charged with three counts of third-degree murder in the deaths of Troopers Martin F. Mack III and Branden T. Sisca. Also killed was Reyes Rivera Oliveras, 28, the state police said.
In Pennsylvania, third-degree murder is defined in relation to first-degree and second-degree murder. Under state law, first-degree murder is an intentional killing, second-degree murder is felony murder (that is, it is a killing that is “committed” during an underlying felony), and third-degree murder is simply defined as “[a]ll other kinds of murder.”
According to the state police, Mack, 33, and Sisca, 29, responded to reports of a pedestrian walking down I-95 on Monday close to the three-arena Philadelphia Sports Complex, where the city’s four major sports teams all play their home games. The troopers had just managed to secure Oliveras in the patrol vehicle when a car driven by a woman that police now identify as Webb attempted to pass the scene.
Webb’s vehicle fatally struck both troopers and the cruiser, resulting in the death of Oliveras.
“The impact was so great that it threw the troopers over into the northbound lanes of Interstate 95,” said Capt. James Kremm at a news conference on Monday.
Webb remained on the scene until authorities arrived and took her into custody.
She is now charged with:
- murder of the third degree (three counts)
- homicide by vehicle while DUI (three counts)
- homicide by vehicle (three counts)
- manslaughter of a law enforcement officer in the second degree (two counts)
- involuntary manslaughter (three counts)
- recklessly endangering another person (three counts)
- driving under the influence
- failing to drive at a safe speed
- careless driving
- reckless driving
“This is a heartbreaking tragedy that occurred while these troopers were protecting and serving,” said Gov. Tom Wolf (D). “This mournful incident is a stark reminder of the risks—and sacrifices—our law enforcement officers undertake every day to keep us safe. My heart goes out to their families and the communities they lived in and served.”
Gov. Wolf ordered that the commonwealth flag fly at half-staff on all commonwealth facilities, public buildings, and grounds through Friday. He instructed those venues to again lower the flags should either troopers’ funeral occur after that date.
Mack was a seven-year veteran of the force, having enlisted in November 2014, according to a state police spokesperson. Sisca enlisted a little over a year ago — in February 2021 — and just graduated in August before being assigned to the Patrol Section of Troop K, Philadelphia, alongside Mack. He was also just a few months away from becoming father for the first time, with his wife expecting the couple’s first child later this year.
“Our department is heartbroken with the tragedy that occurred early this morning in Philadelphia,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Robert Evanchick. “We ask our fellow Pennsylvanians to keep the families of our troopers and the pedestrian in their thoughts. This is an extremely difficult time.”
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