Leezandra Aponte, Brenda Lopez & Pantaleon Santos Killed, Nine Hurt in Accident at Lynnway Auto Auction in Billerica, MA
Billerica, MA -- An incident at the Lynnway Auto Auction in Billerica, MA led to the deaths of Leezandra Aponte, Brenda Lopez and Pantaleon Santos, and left up to nine people with injuries Wednesday, May 3, 2017.
Officials say that the incident took place around 10:15 a.m. According to the early media reports, a man in his 70's--reportedly an employee of Lynnway Auto Auction--was driving a Jeep inside the auction house when the vehicle suddenly accelerated. One witness at the scene claimed the vehicle took off rapidly, crashing right through the building.
Three people were killed in the incident; Leezandra Aponte, Brenda Lopez, and Pantaleon Santos.
The report also claims up to nine more people sustained injuries in the incident.
The investigation into the deadly incident is ongoing.
map of the area
I was all set to write about how premises liability law might apply to this incident when, out of curiosity, I decided to do a Google search for Lynnway Auto Auction Inc.
To my surprise and horror, I discovered this was not the first time this type of crash happened at Lynnway Auto Auction Inc. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Lynnway Auto Auction Inc. not once, but twice for "serious" violations.
In 2014--following a very similar incident involving a Jeep where one person was injured--Lynnway Auto Auction Inc. was fined after an OSHA inspection revealed the company "failed to require use of traffic control devices while employees performed maintenance task among moving vehicles." If you're starting to see a pattern here with Lynnway Auto Auction Inc.'s disregard for public safety, there's a good reason. It was this 2014 incident which prompted many to ask why it was the auctioneer failed to provide adequate safety for the public, and what could be done to ensure it wouldn't happen again? Unfortunately, OSHA fines seemed to be ineffectual in solving the problem.
A lot of people say lawsuits ultimately cost jobs and harm business who are just doing what is expected of them; turn a profit. However, it's these types of incidents that illustrate the need for a legal safety net to ensure that businesses who are negligent in providing safe environments for their customers and employees pay a heavy cost for their disregard.
How often is it you hear of fatal incidents at auto auctions in Massachusetts? At this particular auction house, there have been two major crashes in the last three years. There are several auto auctions in Massachusetts that seem to go about their business without causing injuries or fatalities. Why is it that these other auto auctions seem to be able to go about their business without running people over and Lynnway Auto Auction Inc. can't?
Lynnway Auto Auction Inc. was warned that their behavior was dangerous. For whatever reason, they didn't heed that warning and 3 people are dead. In many incidents you could say that there was no way for the company to see a fatal event coming, based upon what has been reported about Lynnway Auto Auction Inc., I don't see how they could make such a claim.
--Grossman Law Offices