3 dead, 9 injured in Massachusetts auto auction crash

BILLERICA, Mass. (KABC) -- Three people were killed and nine more were injured after a vehicle crashed through a Massachusetts auto auction building on Wednesday, officials said.

The crash occurred at around 10:15 a.m. at LynnWay Auto Auction in Billerica, about 20 miles northwest of Boston. An auction employee in his 70s was behind the wheel of the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee when it apparently lurched out of control and mowed people down.

One man and two women were killed in the crash, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said at a news conference.

Nine people were hurt, including two with life-threatening injuries, she said. The driver wasn't hospitalized, she said.

"The preliminary investigation suggests this is a tragic accident," Ryan said.

Massachusetts State Police echoed Ryan's statements, saying there was no evidence to suggest the crash was caused by an intentional or terrorist act.

A witness said the vehicle suddenly accelerated and struck several people crowded around the auction block before it crashed through a wall of the building.

"I heard a screeching of tires, and, I believe, a Jeep Cherokee went flying by me," auction employee Woody Tuttle told WCVB-TV. "In avoiding the cars, whoever was driving this vehicle hit several people."

The driver "avoided the cars, and went on to hit the people who were standing between the cars," Tuttle told the station.

Emergency personnel were quick to respond to the scene because four police officers and a firefighter are routinely stationed at the auction site because of the large crowds it draws every Wednesday, Billerica Police Chief Daniel Rosa said. Ambulances from several surrounding towns responded.

Images from TV helicopters showed a vehicle covered in debris. Medics wheeled people out of the building on gurneys.

The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.
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