Auto Auction, Owner Charged With Manslaughter In Deadly Crash

Lynnway Auto Auction in Billerica, MA (Credit: Google Media)

WOBURN, Mass (WBZ NewsRadio)— Nearly two years after a fatal crash at a Billerica auto auction house killed five people, authorities have filed manslaughter charges.

Middlesex District Attorney Marion Ryan said that Lynnway Auto Auction, Inc. and company president James Lamb were each indicted Thursday on five counts of manslaughter in connection with the May 2017 fatal crash.

In a press conference, Ryan said that that Lamb, who was responsible for day-to-day operations, was “aware of shortfalls in the safety measures” at the auction house and failed “to take appropriate actions that could have prevented the death of five people.”

Additionally the company failed to ensure that all drivers were properly licensed and trained.

On May 3, 2017, a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by a 76-year-old employee accelerated out of control on the auction floor killing five and injuring nine.

According to Ryan, investigators determined that the Jeep reached speeds of 32mph inside the building going from one end to the other in under 4 seconds before finally crashing through a cinderblock wall.

The victims, Pantaleon Santos and Leezandra Aponte, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Brenda Lopez, Elliott Rowlands, Jr. and Ruben Espaillat were taken to an area hospital where they later died.

Six months after the crash, federal workplace safety regulators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the auction house for numerous hazards.

Lynnway agreed to pay $200,000 in penalties and also agreed to add several safety measures, including the installation of barriers in the auto auction area.

However, investigators learned that a similar accident happened in 2014 where a worker was seriously injured and that Lamb “failed to implement safety measures.”

“Even though James Lamb signed the certification of corrective action worksheet and abatement letter on behalf of Lynnway in response to the 2014 incident, safety measures were not fully implemented,” authorities say.

An arraignment date for Lamb has not yet been scheduled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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