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Woman accused of impaired driving, speeding before crashing into I-695 workers denied bail

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BALTIMORE - Lisa Lea, charged in the death of six highway workers on I-695 in March, appeared in court Thursday for a bail review hearing.

The judge ordered that Lea be held in jail without bond.

Lea, 54, from Randallstown, turned herself in to police Wednesday, two days after she was indicted on 28 charges.

She was charged with six counts of felony negligent manslaughter by vehicle, six counts of death of a vulnerable person and numerous traffic violations.  

Lea was also charged with aggressive driving and driving while impaired. 

Prosecutors said Lea was traveling 108 mph when her car collided with another car before striking the construction workers. Prosecutors said her toxicology report showed THC in her system, and that she had smoked the night before.

"It is her actions that resulted in the death of the six individuals," said Baltimore County Assistant State's Attorney Felise Kelly. "The other individual was acting in concert with her, whether they knew each other or not, and the result is that six individuals, who were doing their job, lost their lives."

Melachi Brown, 20, the other driver involved in the deadly crash, was arrested and appeared in court on Tuesday.

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

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 the crash, and 111 mph when he collided with Lea's car which then 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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