BILLERICA, MASS. (WHDH) - BILLERICA, MA (WHDH) – The site of a fatal auto auction crash in Billerica last week reopened Wednesday morning with additional safety measures in place. Just hours later, the Middlesex District Attorney’s office announced that a fourth victim in the crash had died.
The LynnWay Auto Auction held a prayer service at 8:15 a.m. before opening its doors to business. Four people were killed and several others were injured on May 3 when an SUV barreled out of control into a group people and crashed through a concrete wall.
The auction posted a message on Twitter Tuesday night about the service saying that all were welcome to attend the vigil, but that only licensed dealers would be allowed to attend the auction.
Exactly one week following the tragedy, hundreds showed up for the service, many with flowers in hand.
“It’s local,” Sue Staken said. “It’s very heartfelt. It’s a tragedy and a loss.”
District Attorney Marian Ryan and Billerica Chief of Police Daniel Rosa have confirmed Elliot Rowlands Jr., 50, of Buzzards Bay, died at Lahey Clinic in Burlington. It was announced last week that Rhode Island residents Brenda Lopez, 48, and Pantaleon Santos, 49, were pronounced dead at the scene. Another victim, Leezandra Aponte, 36 of Lowell, was also pronounced dead.
Investigators said an employee, in his 70s, was behind the wheel of a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee when it accelerated and ran over a group gathered to bid on used cars. They believe the man accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake. Company officials said his license had been revoked at the time.
Large concrete barriers have since been set up inside the auction house to prevent cars from veering out of their designated lanes.
“They’re painted in yellow. That’s a big difference. I mean, it’s considerably better than it ever has been,” said bidder Peter Mueller.
Additional first responders and safety workers will now attend the auctions as a precaution.
“The security measures in place now are a lot better,” LynnWay employee Scott Richards said. “People are less worried now.”
A portion of the proceeds from Wednesday’s auction will be donated to the families of the crash victims.
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