BILLERICA, MA (WHDH) - Witnesses at the Lynnway Auto Auction in Billerica Wednesday said they only had seconds to move before an SUV slammed into the crowd at a high rate of speed.
Officials said three people, including a man and two women, were killed when an employee in a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee suddenly lurched forward at a high rate of speed and hit a crowd of people. Several others were seriously hurt and taken to area hospitals. Many of those at the auction praised rescuers and first responders for how quickly they arrived on scene to tend to the injured.
Frederick Kyazze said he heard a loud bang and thought the building was collapsing. Another witness, Edward Cruz, compared the sound to an explosion.
“The car was through the wall and there was people on the ground. It was pretty bad,” said Andre Federov.
Cathy Blimberg said her two good friends, a father and son, were at the auction to go car shopping for her son. She got nervous and called the auto shop where they worked and learned they were at the auction but had a very close call.
“The father and the son were there and they got out of the way of the oncoming car,” said Blimberg. “So he pushed his son out of the way.”
Blimberg said her two friends are fine but were shaken up after seeing everything that happened. She said she aches for the families who lost loved ones in the crash.
“It’s scary. You just don’t know when your time is coming,” said Blimberg.
Massachusetts State Police said evidence suggests that the incident was not an intentional act. They said the employee behind the wheel most likely mistook the accelerator pedal for the brake pedal as auto dealers viewed the SUV. Witnesses said the employee was sitting in the driver’s seat expressionless, possibly in shock.
The crash is under investigation.
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