BILLERICA, Mass. - Three people are dead and another nine people are injured after a car crashed through a busy Billerica auto auction Wednesday morning.
Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said that one man and two women are dead. Of the nine injured, eight suffered serious injuries and one has life threatening injuries. A relative of a deceased victim was also taken to the hospital for stress.
"It appears to be a tragic accident, but it is early in the investigation," said Ryan.
The Lahey Hospital in Burlington confirmed they treated four people from the crash, with two in critical condition and one in stable condition. Lowell General confirmed they also treated four patients, three of whom have been released.
"Timing means a lot in trauma - getting in to a trauma center quickly," said Dr. Casper Reske-Nielsen with the Lahey Clinic.
The crash happened around 10:15 a.m. at 400 Charter Way in Billerica at the Lynnway Auto Auction. Ryan said there were several hundred people at the auction, which started at 8:30 a.m. like it does every week.
The building has several red viewing lanes and blue safety lanes, and employees drive the cars down the viewing lanes for people to see. Only employees are allowed to drive the vehicles, said Ryan.
Witnesses told Boston 25 News that a driver was taking a Jeep Cherokee out for viewing when he had what appeared to be a medical emergency and shot through the building, hitting several people. The driver came to a stop when the Jeep crashed through a cement wall.
"He went through the door, went through the lane of people, and then through the building...He was going fast, he was going really fast," said the witness.
State Police said there is no evidence of an attack or that this was intentional in any way.
"We are heartbroken that this accident occurred at our premises with a vehicle driven by one of our drivers. Understandably, the driver is very distraught; he will not be driving cars at the auction until the investigation has concluded," a statement from the president of the auction said in part.
A witness said he thought the driver was going about 25 to 35 mph. Ryan confirmed the driver was in his 70s and was not hospitalized.
One witness said it was extremely frightening and they left in shock from what they saw. Others described it as a "war zone," with many injured and bloody.
Four officers and one firefighter were on scene working detail, which is typical for the auto auctions. Billerica Fire Chief Tom Conway said there was a very fast response because of that.
"He was able to radio in a quick update...as he evaluated," Conway said in regards to the firefighter on the scene.
The chief said they train for mass casualty incidents like this and set up triage.
Ryan said that there is still a lot to investigate regarding the situation and said it will be "lengthy."
Boston 25 New will stay on this story - the newest information at 4 p.m.
WARNING: Some of these photos contain graphic material.
MSP sending crash reconstruction, crime scene teams, as well as MSP detectives from DA's office to Charter Way, Billerica. 1 of 2— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) May 3, 2017
Reported crash involves vehicle at auto auction site. Multiple victims reported. We are assisting Billerica Police, who are primary. 2 of 2 https://t.co/g5pM4mVqHw— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) May 3, 2017
Have now seen at least 7 ambulances leaving auto auction with lights and sirens— Kathryn Burcham (@kathrynburcham) May 3, 2017
Witness says he believes the driver worked for the auction @boston25— Kathryn Burcham (@kathrynburcham) May 3, 2017
© 2017 Cox Media Group.
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