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WMAR 2 News Baltimore

Drivers involved in I-695 crash that killed six construction workers charged

By Ryan Dickstein,


The drivers involved in a March crash on I-695 that killed six construction workers have been charged.

Lisa Adrienna Lea, 54, and Melachi Duane Darnell Brown, 20, each face more than two dozen counts including felony negligent manslaughter by vehicle.

Brown appeared before a judge Tuesday and was given pre-trial home detention. He was ordered to not drive or contact the victims families.

Although he has no prior criminal record, prosecutors argued for no bail. They claim Brown told police he was only going 60 mph.

Yet evidence suggests just five seconds before the crash he was traveling 122 mph in a 55 mph construction zone, and 111 mph at the time of impact.

“I understand the charges, I’m just not sure why I’m being charged with them," Brown said in court.

Meanwhile Lea, 54, turned herself into police on Wednesday.

Investigators believe Lea made an unsafe lane change causing her Acura to strike Brown's Volkswagen along the inner loop near Security Boulevard.

The impact led Lea's car to spin out and plow through the construction barrier, hitting all six workers.

Her car then flipped leaving her hospitalized for an extended period of time.

Leading up to the crash charging documents allege Lea was going 121 mph, "while so far impaired by any drug, any combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol that she cannot drive a vehicle safely."

She is currently being held without bail.

RELATED: Excessive speed reported in lead-up to deadly I-695 construction zone crash

If convicted on all counts Brown and Lea each face up to 78 years behind bars.

The names of the six construction workers are as follows.

Rolando Ruiz, 46, of Laurel

Carlos Orlando Villatoro Escobar, 43, of Frederick

Jose Armando Escobar, 52, of Frederick

Mahlon Simmons III, 31, of Union Bridge

Mahlon Simmons II, 52, of Union Bridge

Sybil Lee DiMaggio, 46, of Glen Burnie

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