Woman charged with murder in death of Medford grad Folsom
REDDING, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California woman who drove her car head-on into freeway traffic in an alleged suicide attempt has been charged with the second-degree murder of the driver she struck, a former North Medford star athlete and father of three.
Grace Elizabeth Ward, 28, suffered a broken leg in the crash that killed Ryan Folsom on Interstate 5 earlier this month. The Red Bluff woman was arrested Tuesday after her release from the hospital and remained jailed on $1.5 million bail.
A public defender was expected to be appointed to her case at her scheduled arraignment on Friday, Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said.
Folsom, 29, was a budding physician and former football player and wrestler for the Black Tornado who went on to play for the Cougars at Brigham Young University, where he studied neuroscience. He had been attending the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio before his family relocated to Medford. On Jan. 7, he was heading to a hospital in Sacramento to interview for a residency when Ward struck his car.
Ward was driving north on the freeway in Redding when she crossed into oncoming traffic in an alleged attempt to kill herself by running into other cars, Bridgett said.
“She intentionally was driving and swerving towards them,” Bridgett said.
Three cars were able to swerve out of the way before Folsom’s car was struck, Bridgett said.
The district attorney said Ward made a “selfish” decision that met the legal requirements of second-degree murder.
“She made a choice, a purposeful choice to use her vehicle and driving in a fashion that was reckless and dangerous with a complete disregard” for other lives, Bridgett said.
Ward has been interviewed but Bridgett declined to discuss what she told investigators. The district attorney also declined to discuss details of Ward’s background.
In addition to the murder charge, Ward is charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly trying to strike the other three cars, Bridgett said.
She also is charged with felony vandalism for damaging a median strip in trying to cross into oncoming traffic, Bridgett said.
Ward could face life in prison if convicted.
A GoFundMe account raised more than $300,000 for the Folsom family.