Scranton crash victim tried to stop vehicle without brakes

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – She was tortured.

Prosecutors say a woman killed in a car crash two months ago in Scranton died at the hands of a “homicidal maniac.”

That man, John Jenkins, was in court Friday to face homicide charges for allegedly cutting the brake lines on his friend’s vehicle which led to her death.

Three witnesses took the stand during Friday’s preliminary hearing before the judge ruled this case should go to trial.

About a dozen family and friends of the victim, Tammy Fox, attended the hearing.

Asking us to only use their first names, Cream and Beth worked to spruce-up a growing memorial to Tammy Fox at the intersection of North Washington Avenue and Pine Street in Scranton.

That is where their friend died after hitting a tree in late August.

“This was a horrible, horrible, horrible, premeditated situation,” Cream said.

John Jenkins is charged in Fox’s death for allegedly cutting the brake lines on her vehicle.

He said he was “hacking away” under her car looking a pipe to smoke crack with.

“It actually humbled me to see his face and to see that he knows he’s not going to get away with it,” Beth said.

In court Friday, a collision expert testified that Tammy Fox did everything she could to stop the vehicle before it crashed from hitting the brakes, using the emergency break and even pulling the key out of the ignition. 

None of it stopped Fox’s vehicle which ultimately hit a tree going an estimated 56-to-58 miles an hour.

“She pulled the keys out of the ignition while coming down this hill so fast! She made sure she didn’t hurt anybody!” Cream said.

Jenkins’ attorneys tried to argue this isn’t a first-degree murder case, saying Jenkins didn’t do anything intentionally or maliciously but prosecutors argue its just the opposite.

“He really set the vehicle up to be a death trap. That’s 15 intersections but for the grace of God no children or families were walking through. That’s right through the medical college. That’s right through a residential neighborhood,” Deputy District Attorney Brian Gallagher said.

The victim of the crash was a witness in the ongoing sex scandal at the Lackawanna County prison that has already led to the arrest of seven former guards. Those cases all continue even after her death.

The Lackawanna County coroner testified Friday that Tammy Fox did have a very small amount of cocaine in her system at the time of her death but could not say exactly when it got into her system.

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