Safety Precautions on Way After Jeep Drives Into Auction Crowd, Killing Three

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Three people were killed and at least nine others injured on Wednesday when a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee suddenly accelerated into a crowd of customers at an auto auction in Billerica, Massachusetts, just north of Boston. Driven by a LynnWay Auto Auction employee, the SUV impacted attendees and proceeded to crash through a concrete exterior wall.

Massachusetts State Police issued a tweet Friday, stating, “At this point, there is no evidence or information to suggest the incident was caused by an intentional or terrorist act. All evidence and information at this time suggests an accidental cause.” It is, however, continuing its investigation into what exactly caused the accident.

After the incident, local police and fire chiefs issued a joint statement describing the event as a mass casualty incident, citing response protocol. Law enforcement also released the names of the victims and indicated two other attendees remained in critical condition.

WCBV5 report s the auto auction company will increase safety precautions at the facility.

“We will be installing barriers, or ‘bollards,’ to help keep vehicles from veering out of their intended lane. Sturdy, vertical posts, bollards are frequently used on highways to control road traffic and will provide additional protection for our patrons and everyone working at the auction,” Lynnway Auto Auction President Jim Lamb said in a statement.

The employee behind the wheel, a man in his 70s, was not severely injured and was taken to hospital only as a precautionary measure.

[Images: WCBV Channel 5]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Toxicroach Toxicroach on May 06, 2017

    Reminds me of when all those Toyotas were going crazy. Turns out the cars could sense the age of the driver and mostly tried to kill the elderly. Apparently defective cars are big fans of Logan's Run. The police are being really nice so far. That old guy killed three people by getting stomping on the gas thinking it was the brake and freezing up. Wonder if they'll soft peddle it spare his feelings.

  • E30gator E30gator on May 06, 2017

    This is why I never go to auto auctions.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on May 07, 2017

    I'd bet a beer that he was driving with two feet. One on the gas, one on the brake. Add in a little old age confusion and auction excitement - and disaster! He's pressing the brake (gas) as hard as he can and it just won't stop.... Late in my grandfather's life he did not have alot of feeling left in his feet and his legs were weaker so I noticed he would drive with both feet on a pedal. That didn't turn out well b/c he rear ended a truck in stop and go traffic. No damage other than a scuffed bumper but he complained the brakes on his Chevy sedan failed. About ten years before I had worked on his Buick after those brakes had gone "bad" too (no accident just no brake boost) but that was a failed check valve in the brake booster vacuum line. $10 later and it was fixed. I drove the Chevy and was able to slide the tires on dry pavement. Only then did he admit what he was doing (two feet). Now when I see one elderly person accelerating away from a stop light or stop sign with the brake lights flickering, I know why - their left foot is touching the brake pedal while their right foot presses on the gas... Give 'em space folks! All these relatives were attached to a suburban lifestyle that required a car to function - beyond when they could no longer safely drive. We gently pulled their keys when we could.

  • ArialATOMV8 ArialATOMV8 on May 08, 2017

    What frustrates me most is that according to Boston25 (Massachusetts watered down Fox News) the guy had a suspended licience.