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Fleeing robbery suspect in wrong-way crash that killed aspiring nurse faces judge

WCVB Boston logo WCVB Boston 6/10/2021
a woman smiling for the camera: Ashley Forward, the 19-year-old victim of a deadly crash on Route 107 in Saugus, Massachusetts involving a fleeing robbery suspect on June 9, 2021. © Michelle Luongo Ashley Forward, the 19-year-old victim of a deadly crash on Route 107 in Saugus, Massachusetts involving a fleeing robbery suspect on June 9, 2021.

A wrong-way driver fleeing a robbery who collided head-on with another vehicle on Route 107 in Saugus killing the other driver, was arraigned Thursday.

William Leger, 35, of Somerville, pleaded not guilty Thursday to motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation, unarmed robbery, receiving a stolen vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, marked lanes violation, speeding and driving the wrong way on a state highway.

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He appeared in Lynn District Court via video from Massachusetts General Hospital. He was ordered held pending a dangerousness hearing.

At 10:49 a.m. Wednesday, Saugus police were called to the 7-Eleven on Lincoln Avenue for a report of an unarmed robbery. A description of the vehicle was relayed to responding officers, and a Saugus officer spotted the vehicle on Ballard Street.

When the officer attempted to stop Leger, he fled, police said. The car – a Volkswagen Jetta stolen on June 2 -- pulled onto Route 107, traveling south in the northbound lanes, police said.

Leger’s vehicle collided with a vehicle being driven by Ashley Forward, 19, of Lynn. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Forward’s mother, Michelle Luongo, says her daughter was on her way home to get her Target work uniform and was just miles away from their house when the deadly crash happened.

Luongo said her daughter was just wrapping up her first year of college and initially had dreams of becoming a politician but changed her focus to nursing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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