3 dead, 9 injured after car crashes into Massachusetts auto auction

BILLERICA, Mass. — Three people are dead and several people are injured after a car crashed into a Billerica, Massachusetts, auto auction Wednesday morning.

The crash happened around 10:30 a.m. at 400 Charter Way in Billerica, at the Lynnway Auto Auction. Billerica is about 20 miles northwest of Boston. According to the Lynnway Auto Auction‘s website, there was an auction at 8:40 a.m. Wednesday.

Investigators say a man in his 70s was driving the SUV that killed at least three people when it sped through a crowded area of the building. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said the driver was an employee of the auction and the dead were one man and two women. She said two of the nine who were taken to hospitals suffered life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the 2006 Jeep Cherokee suffered only minor injuries, police said.

Ryan said a preliminary investigation suggests it was “a tragic accident.” The SUV crashed through a wall after striking bystanders inside the building.

A witness tells WCVB-TV that cars were lined up on the auction block when one vehicle suddenly accelerated. Employee Woody Tuttle says he heard tires screeching and saw the vehicle strike several people. Tuttle told the station: “(The driver) avoided the cars and went on to hit the people who were standing between the cars.”

Images from TV helicopters show a vehicle covered in debris that appears to have crashed through an exterior wall from inside the building. Several ambulances were on the scene, and medics wheeled people out of the building on gurneys. Dozens of emergency responders responded to the scene. Medics were seen wheeling people out on gurneys.

Massachusetts State Police said that there is no evidence this was an intentional act, in a statement:

“Preliminary investigation at the scene of the crash at Lynnway Auto Auctions in Billerica indicate that there are fatalities among the multiple victims. 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. The investigation by Billerica and State Police is ongoing. No further information is available at this time.”