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Drivers charged with 55 combined counts in I-695 crash that killed six workers

Drivers charged with 55 combined counts in I-695 crash that killed six workers
Drivers charged with 55 combined counts in I-695 crash that killed six workers 02:28

BALTIMORE -- Two drivers involved in a crash on I-695 that left six construction workers dead have been charged in a Grand Jury Indictment, the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office announced Tuesday.

Lisa Lea and Melachi Brown face a combined 55 charges. They were both charged with six counts of felony negligent manslaughter by vehicle, six counts of death of a vulnerable person and numerous traffic violations.  

Among Lea's 28 charges are aggressive driving and driving while impaired. 

Brown was in court Tuesday while authorities continue to search for Lea.

The judge recommended Brown be placed in home detention. He'll be required to wear an ankle monitor, won't be allowed to drive or contact any of the victims' families.

Prosecutors were pushing for Brown to be held in jail without bail, as opposed to home detention.

"I believe he is indeed a threat to the community. It's that type of driving that resulted in the death of six individuals," said assistant state's attorney Kelly Felise. "It's the judge's decision to release an individual. She made the determination that without him driving, he's no longer going to be a threat to the community."

On March 22, six highway workers were killed in a work zone on I-695, when troopers said two cars crashed at a high rate of speed. One of the cars careened into the work zone.   

Troopers said Lea had attempted to change from one lane to another when her vehicle struck the front corner panel on the passenger side of Brown's white Volkswagen.    

Prosecutors said Brown was traveling 122 mph five seconds before crash, and 111 mph when he collided with Lea's car that flipped into workers   

Maryland State Police identified the six contractual workers who were killed as 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; and Sybil Lee Dimaggio, 46, of Glen Burnie.  

 A video obtained by WJZ shows the two cars crashing at a high rate of speed.

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