A 30-year-old woman has been indicted on charges of vehicular homicide, assault by auto and strict liability vehicular homicide in connection with an accident that occurred May 9, 2021 on Lanes Mill Road in Brick.
Prosecutors say Ashley Watkins, 30, of Eatontown, 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. Penrod’s wife, Nancy Penrod, also 78, was a passenger in the vehicle. Terry Penrod sustained a broken leg and was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune for treatment while Nancy Penrod was transported to Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township, where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased.
The accident occurred about 9:45 a.m. on what was being celebrated as Mothers’ Day.
According to prosecutors, Watkins sustained minor injuries from the crash, and was taken to Ocean Medical Center for treatment. While at Ocean Medical Center, Watkins consented to a draw of her blood. On June 2, 2021, the toxicology results of Watkins’ blood-draw allegedly revealed the presence of fentanyl, diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and marijuana in her blood stream, “which rendered 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 Officers from the Brick Township Police Department arrested Watkins at her residence without incident two days later. Watkins was transported to the Ocean County Jail, and later released under New Jersey’s bail reform policies.
Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Carr is handling the case for the state.