Victims of fatal auto auction crash near Boston identified
The District Attorney’s Office, Billerica Police Department and Massachusetts State Police C.A.R.S. unit will continue to investigate the cause of the Grand Cherokee’s sudden acceleration. Photo credit: Witness photo via WBZ-TV CBS Boston
Law enforcement authorities in Massachusetts have identified the three people killed in a crash Wednesday at an auto auction in a Boston suburb.
Brenda Lopez, 48, Pantaleon Santos, 49, and Leezandra Aponte, 36, were killed, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Billerica, Mass., Police Chief Daniel Rosa said in a release Thursday evening.
Lopez and Santos were pronounced dead at LynnWay Auto Auction in Billerica, while Aponte — an auction employee — was taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead.
A preliminary investigation into the crash, which occurred at about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, suggests it was unintentional. An employee accelerated through a cinder-block wall in a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee, hitting auto auction attendees.
The driver was not hospitalized after the crash, Meghan Kelly, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office, wrote in an email to Automotive News. No charges had been filed.
Authorities on Thursday also disclosed the conditions of those injured in the incident.
Eight of the nine have been treated and released from area hospitals. Those released were seven men — ages 33, 35, 40, 50, 55 and two 51-year-olds — and one 38-year-old woman.
A 55-year-old man was still in the hospital with “serious injuries,” but Kelly could not comment on his condition.
Local Massachusetts news station WCVB-TV reported Friday that LynnWay Auto Auction said it would improve safety precautions by installing barriers to keep vehicles in their lanes.
In a Wednesday joint release from Rosa and Billerica Fire Chief Thomas Conway, the crash was classified as a “mass casualty incident.” The two applauded the quick response from police and fire units.
“During a mass casualty incident, seconds count for patients. Manpower at the scene is critical, but it is just as important that these resources be deployed in an orderly and organized fashion, consistent with best practices of incident command,” Conway said in the statement. “Today’s incident was a tragedy, but I am grateful for the tremendous response of police, fire, and EMS resources today that likely prevented further loss of life.”
The District Attorney’s Office, Billerica Police Department and Massachusetts State Police C.A.R.S. unit will continue to investigate the cause of the Grand Cherokee’s sudden acceleration.