Deadly Crash Victim’s Brake Lines Were Cut, Say State Police

SCRANTON, Pa. -- State police now say a deadly crash in Scranton last week was a homicide.

According to troopers, John Jenkins, 39, of Lackawanna County, admitted to cutting the brake lines of Tammy Fox's car last week.

Fox, 38, of Scranton, was killed when her car hit parked cars and then slammed into a tree on August 22 at the intersection of North Washington Avenue and Pine Street in Scranton.

She hit parked cars before slamming into a tree. She died after being taken to a hospital.

Now, police say they know Jenkins cut the brake lines of that vehicle.

"99 percent of the time it's mainly operator error, but then when you look into it and that's why we have these inspections of vehicles, then we determine, 'Hey! This time it wasn't the operator.' This vehicle was actually tampered with and that's what caused the death in this crash,” said Trooper Bob Urban of Pennsylvania State Police in Dunmore.

State police say a mechanical check of the vehicle revealed the cut lines.

According to court papers, Jenkins and Fox were together the night before the crash and Fox was "driving him crazy" because she was looking for a pipe to smoke crack.

Jenkins says he has no knowledge of cars, but, "cut anything from underneath the vehicle that could be used to smoke crack."

"We saw the car going through and she hit the two parked cars to there and she hit the tree and me and my coach stopped and we got out and we walked out and everybody was there like from Cooper’s and they were trying to get the door open," said Richard Hein of Scranton.

The crash site is now a memorial to Fox, with balloons, notes, and flowers.

Someone has even written "Fox Street" on the sidewalk.

"She was a very sweet, caring person. She'd done a lot of things for other people and this is what happens, it's just horrible,” said one woman who did not want her name revealed.

Fox was a mother of five and a witness in the case against former Lackawanna County corrections officers accused of corruption and sexually assaulting female inmates.

"From what I understand she was run off the road a month or so ago and it just seems wrong, you cut somebody's brake line to use the line to smoke crack? I mean that's a little far-fetched,” the woman said.

Jenkins is locked up without bail.

8 comments

  • Mopar Driver (@RustyMopars)

    This was only found out because it was a fatal , otherwise no inspection would’ve been done . as there are dual systems this takes some work to rig a failure and can’t believe the operator didn’t notice something , but junkies will be junkies .

  • Eric Barton

    How do you not realize your brakes have failed? Also brake lines on a car aren’t just sitting there easily accessible to be cut. I call BS on that excuse. Jenkins put a lot of effort into this.

    • jsrant

      I agree. This is premeditated murder. There are so many things lying around to smoke crack, so cutting the brakeline is lame. I don’t know why she didn’t realize something was wrong with the brakes. When leaking fluid the peddle becomes soft.

      • Mary Ann Snedeker

        I think the FBI should be brought into this case. There is no way that this girl wasn’t targeted. She would have known that the breaks aren’t right. I don’t know where she traveled from but if she was traveling prior she would have known something was wrong. And from stories around town she had been pushed off the road prior. That’s our Lackawanna County for you at its best. Now these correctional officers will get a slap on the wrist. What a terrible shame that her children now have no mom to share their lives with. Hopefully this guy that supposedly did this, if he did, wasn’t threatened or paid off to do this.

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