A mother of five from Pennsylvania is dead following a car crash that has been ruled a homicide by local police.
According to state police, the victim’s boyfriend is in custody after admitting to cutting the car’s brake lines in an effort to find something to use for smoking crack.
Authorities said, John Jenkins, 39, admitted that on Aug. 21, he cut the brake lines of a black Hyundai Sonata owned by Tammy Fox, 38.
The following day, Fox was driving her car in Scranton when “her vehicle began to accelerate,” police said in a news release. A witness told police the car was traveling about 60 mph and the brake lights flashed, but it never slowed down before the crash.
The car crossed through an intersection and struck some parked cars and a tree. Fox died of the injuries she suffered in the crash.
Scranton police inspected Fox’s car and found its Crash Data Retrieval System software “would not read” speed and braking data from the car’s Airbag Control Module, according to court records obtained by LehighValleyLive.com.
City police brought in state police investigators who found both rear wheels able to rotate freely despite the emergency brake being activated, the records said.
“A mechanical inspection and search of Fox’s vehicle showed that the brake lines had been cut,” police said.
The brake fluid reservoir was empty, and troopers found two brake lines cut in the engine compartment, court records say.
Jenkins told the troopers “he smoked crack with the victim the night before the fatal crash and accessed the engine compartment of the victim’s vehicle,” court records say.
Jenkins told police in an interview he had cut the brake lines the night before while at the couple’s home “in an attempt to obtain a metal pipe that could be used to smoke crack cocaine,” according to state police.
Jenkins he told police he wasn’t a mechanical expert when it comes to cars, but alleged Fox was “driving him crazy” because she was looking for a pipe to smoke crack in. He allegedly told troopers he didn’t want to go to the store for a pipe, so he started “hacking away” underneath Fox’s vehicle to get something she could use.
Jenkins was arraigned Tuesday on the homicide charge and sent to the Lackawanna County prison.
Fox, meanwhile, was described as a “key witness” by the Scranton Times-Tribune for a grand jury investigating what the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office described as “decade-long allegations of institutional sexual assaults of female inmates at the Lackawanna County Prison.”
In February, three corrections officers were charged with abuse of inmates.
Fox had filed suit in federal court against Lackawanna County and some of its prison guards over allegations of sexual abuse and harassment during her incarceration in 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
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