CROYDON – Bucks County, Holy Family University (HFU) and Conwell-Egan Catholic (CEC) are mourning the loss of Jenna Richards, who was killed Tuesday night, Dec. 20 in a car crash near the intersection of River Road and First Ave. just a block away from her home in Croydon.
Richards was pulling her 2001 Nissan Sentra onto River Road from First Ave. when her car was struck by a 1998 GMC Jimmy driven by Louis DeMora, 52, of Shadyside Ave. Bristol Township Police say speed on the part of the vehicle driven by DeMora was a factor in the collision. Mr. DeMora was taken to Aria-Torresdal Hospital while Ms. Richards was pronounced dead.
"It's devastating; everyone is in a state of shock," said CEC girls soccer coach Andrzej "Andy" Adamiec, who coached Richards all four years on Wistar Road. "This is terrible news for our school. The kids are taking it pretty hard.
"She was well-liked."
A vibrant redhead with an everlasting smile, Richards was born April 1994, the daughter of William and Donna. She was only 22.
Jenna was a standout soccer player for the Lady Eagles, the HFU Tigers and the Yardley-Makefield Soccer (YMS) program.
At Conwell-Egan, Richards was an All-Catholic forward for Coach Adamiec. A team captain in 2010 and 2011, Richards was a scoring machine for the Eagles, notching 49 goals and 13 assists for 111 points.
In her senior year at Egan, she helped the Lady Eagles to an unprecedented 12-2 record in the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL)
"Jenna put our program on the map," stated Adamiec. "She helped our program become what it is today."
At Egan, where she was a varsity starter from 2008 to 2011, Richards was a four-time All-Catholic League selection, nominated to the first team her last three seasons on Wistar Road. She graduated from CEC in 2012.
"Some kids come to high school and they want to play three, four sports; not Jenna," stated Adamiec. "She lived, ate and breathed soccer."
"When you're a coach, you learn the kids have all different types of personalities. She was exceptional – reserved, but very hard-working.
"Some kids, you have to constantly remind them: don't forget to do this and don't forget to do that but not her. You could see that she was always focused."
After high school, Richards joined the women's soccer team at Holy Family, where she was a criminal justice major and a four-year starter for the Lady Tigers from 2012 to 2015. She graduated from HFU with a Bachelor of Science degree in the spring.
"We are all stunned and greatly saddened by the news of Jenna's passing," said Holy Family Assistant Vice President of Athletics, Sandra Michael. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jenna's family. She was a tremendous student-athlete who excelled academically and athletically. She made each one of us a better person for having known her. I am fortunate that our paths crossed. The department has lost a gifted member of our athletics' family. Jenna will forever remain part of us."
Richards appeared in 72 games in her four-year collegiate career, including 65 starts. At Holy Family, she recorded 17 goals, 14 assists and 48 points. Richards capped her senior season with All-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) honors as she was named to the second team for the first time. She finished the 2015 season with two goals and career-best eight assists for 12 points.
In the classroom, Richards was a three-time CACC All-Academic selection and boasted a cumulative grade-point average of 3.93. She was also the inaugural (2013) recipient of the conference's Top XV Award; an honor given to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average in the championship field.
While she was best friends with Ali Barker, a Class of 2011 alum and one of the senior captains during Richards' junior year at CEC, the two went their separate ways after high school with Barker spending her college years at Rowan.
The two were recently reunited playing in the Women's Open Division at United German-Hungarian (UGH) Soccer Club in Trevose. Adamiec says he took a trip to UGH recently to see his former players stay in tune with the game they all love.
Now, they're all left to wonder what happened that fateful night on River Road.
"I just can't understand how something like this can happen to someone like her," said Adamiec. "She was a great person and a great player, of course – one of our first-ever superstars."
Police say it could take months to complete the accident investigation and toxicology results will not be released until then. Anyone with information about the collision is asked to call Bristol Township Police at 215-785-6107.
PORTIONS COURTESY HFU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS