Run­away SUV kills three at auto auc­tion

Cape Breton Post - - World -

A SUV be­ing shown to prospec­tive buy­ers at a crowded in­door auto auc­tion sud­denly ac­cel­er­ated with a screech of its tires and crashed through a wall Wed­nes­day morning, killing three peo­ple and in­jur­ing nine.

An auc­tion em­ployee in his 70s was be­hind the wheel of the 2008 Jeep Grand Chero­kee when it ap­par­ently lurched out of con­trol and mowed peo­ple down at Lyn­nWay Auto Auc­tion in Billerica, about 32 kilo­me­tres north­west of Bos­ton.

One man and two women were killed in the crash, Mid­dle­sex District At­tor­ney Mar­ian Ryan said at a news con­fer­ence. Nine peo­ple were hurt, in­clud­ing two with life-threat­en­ing in­juries, she said. The driver wasn’t hos­pi­tal­ized, she said.

“The pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion sug­gests this is a tragic ac­ci­dent,” Ryan said.

Mas­sachusetts State Police in­ves­ti­ga­tors are work­ing to re­con­struct the ac­ci­dent, which hap­pened while sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple were in the build­ing.

Woody Tut­tle, an auto auc­tion em­ployee who saw the crash, told WCVB-TV that the build­ing has eight lanes in which ve­hi­cles on the auc­tion block line up. Peo­ple were stand­ing be­tween the lanes when one ve­hi­cle sud­denly took off, Tut­tle said.

“I heard a screech­ing of tires, and, I be­lieve, a Jeep Chero­kee went fly­ing by me,” he told the sta­tion. “In avoid­ing the cars, who­ever was driv­ing this ve­hi­cle hit sev­eral peo­ple.”

The ve­hi­cle then went through the wall of the build­ing, Tut­tle said.

The driver “avoided the cars, and went on to hit the peo­ple who were stand­ing be­tween the cars,” Tut­tle told WCVB-TV.

Emer­gency per­son­nel were quick to re­spond to the scene be­cause four police of­fi­cers and a fire­fighter are rou­tinely sta­tioned at the auc­tion site be­cause of the large crowds it draws ev­ery Wed­nes­day, Billerica Police Chief Daniel Rosa said. Am­bu­lances from sev­eral sur­round­ing towns re­sponded.

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