A driver who has been charged in the fatal crash on Interstate 695 last year that killed six construction workers has told investigators that she suffered a seizure before the collision.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently released more of its investigation into the fatal incident.

Some of the reports expand upon what was released in a preliminary report last year, but more has been revealed about the moments preceding the crash for one of the suspects.

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Before striking another vehicle and speeding into an I-695 construction work zone on March 22, 2023, Lisa Adrienne Lea of Randallstown told investigators, she had a seizure, according to that report.

“She initially stated that she had been taking seizure medication as prescribed, but later stated that she had not taken her seizure medication for two days due to vomiting,” the report reads.

However, after consulting with one of her doctors, investigators learned Lea had actually not taken any seizure medication since May 2022, and hadn’t filled it anytime before the crash.

The report also noted a vehicle that’s meant to protect construction workers from passing traffic was parked nearby and unattended.

Lawyers for one of the victims, Sybil DiMaggio, claim it could’ve blocked the gap Lea drove through.

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Investigators found Lea and another driver, Melachi Duane Darnell Brown, 21, of Windsor Mill, were going more than 100 mph before the crash.

Authorities said Lea, who was driving a 2017 Acura TLX, tried to move into the passing lane and struck a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta driven by Brown. Lea’s vehicle spun out of control and then entered a work zone in the median of the I-695 inner loop near Interstate 70, the report said.

“At the time of the crash, both vehicles were reportedly traveling at speeds in excess of the posted speed limit and greater than the speed of the adjacent traffic,” federal investigators said last year.

The posted speed limit was 55 mph.

Crews were in the median of the highway as part of a project to reduce congestion on the Baltimore Beltway by rehabbing shoulders, improving drainage and installing new signage. Both vehicles were about 1.8 miles into the area of construction when they collided, the report said. The Acura hit various construction materials and struck and killed six workers in the work site before rolling over and coming to a stop, the report said.

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The victims were Rolando Ruiz, 46, of Laurel; Carlos Orlando Villatoro Escobar, 43, of Frederick; Jose Armando Escobar, 52, of Frederick; Mahlon Simmons III, 30, of Union Bridge; Mahlon Simmons II, 52, of Union Bridge; and DiMaggio, 46, of Glen Burnie.

Troopers had reported that Lea had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Prosecutors allege that she had prescription medications and cannabis in her system and told investigators that her vision went black, like during a seizure that she had experienced five years earlier, and crashed.

This week, Gov. Wes Moore signed the Maryland Road Worker Protection Act into law. The legislation, based on the findings of Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller’s Work Zone Safety Work Group, allows for more automated speed cameras in work zones.

The law also increases fines for violations.

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Kim Simmons, who lost her husband and son in this crash, helped with the legislation. Before signing the bill into law, Moore thanked her.

“Your strength, your advocacy, your push, your heart and humanity, your ability to turn pain into purpose — your work is literally going to save lives,” Moore said.

In an interview with WJZ investigator Mike Hellgren last summer, DiMaggio’s children described their grief over the crash.

“Nothing’s been the same for us and this is just one family,” said Norah DiMaggio. “There were five other people there and that’s just one accident. It’s horrible.”

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Two weeks ago, a Baltimore County judge sentenced Brown, 21, of Windsor Mill to 60 years, suspending all time but 1½ years, in the Baltimore County Detention Center, plus three years’ supervised probation. He must perform 40 hours of community service, complete a victim-impact program and abstain from driving while he’s on supervision.

Brown had pleaded guilty to six counts of negligent vehicular manslaughter.

Circuit Judge Vicki Ballou-Watts largely adopted the plea agreement that the state had extended in the case, noting that Brown’s speeding and aggressive driving were contributing factors, but not the primary cause of the crash. She also brought up his age, lack of prior criminal record and expression of remorse.

Lea, who was ordered released on home detention last July, is due back in court for a motions hearing in May.

Baltimore Banner reporters Dylan Segelbaum and Abby Zimmardi contributed to this report.

Correction: This story has been updated to correct Mahlon Simmons III’s age.

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