Families of 5 victims killed in Lynnway Auto Auction crash seek justice

LYNN, MASS. (WHDH) - The families of the five victims killed in the 2017 Lynnway Auto Auction crash welcomed the charges filed against the company and its president Thursday but stressed they won’t bring their loved ones back.

Indictments issued by District Attorney Marion T. Ryan allege that Lynnway Auto Auction, Inc. and company president James Lamb are criminally responsible for willfully, wantonly, and recklessly failing to take appropriate actions that could have prevented death.

Pantaleon Santos, a husband and father of three young children, was killed after an elderly employee lost control of a car and plowed into a group of people before slamming through a concrete wall.

The driver will not face criminal charges even though they were driving with an expired driver’s license. Under Massachusetts Law, an individual is allowed to operate a motor vehicle on private property without a license.

Santos’ wife, Emily, says she does not fault the district attorney for not charging the driver. In her opinion, the blame rests solely on the auction house, which has an obligation to hire qualified employees.

“He was an older man,” Santos said. “You know, anything could happen at his age. I think Lynnway should have been more careful with who they hire.”

Leezandra Aponte, 36, of Lowell was also among those killed in the crash.

Attorney Mark Breakstone, who represents Aponte’s family, said her loved ones had to relive the grief of losing Leezandra all over again following Ryan’s announcement on Thursday.

“They are at the cemetery, they are grieving, they are reliving the horror of this day,” he said, adding that he isn’t surprised by the indictments.

“This goes beyond normal everyday negligence,” he said. “This is gross negligence that created a dangerous environment for employees and others at the auction.”

An arraignment date for Lamb has not yet been scheduled.

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