Multiple-Victim Crash Raises Questions over Safety at Car Auctions

Lynnway Auto Auction crash 1 photo
Photo: WCBV Channel 5
We've seen a lot of cases of people mistaking one pedal for another and crashing their vehicles, but these incidents are usually over without anyone getting seriously hurt.
But when something like this happens at a car auction, the chances for a tragic result grow exponentially. Sadly, it is exactly what happened at an auction in Massachusetts. An employee of Lynnway Auto, the organizer of the event, drove a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee into a crowd of people, fatally wounding three and injuring nine more.

The police has not yet given any official explanation for the crash that happened on Wednesday, but it did say that there was no reason to suspect an intentional act or terrorism. The person driving the car at that time was identified as Marian Ryian, a man in his 70s.

Witnesses told WCVB-TV (via Automotive News) that the driver appeared to avoid the parked cars but went on to hit the crowd gathered for the event who were standing between the vehicles. There were several hundred people in attendance.

The 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Mr. Ryan finally came to a stop after crashing into a wall. The driver is said to have escaped without any serious injuries, but had been taken to a hospital regardless for precautionary reasons. Three of the victims, however, were killed instantly, with nine other requiring hospitalizing.

Following the tragedy, Lynnway Auto Auction president Jim Lamb issued a statement saying they will increase safety measures in the future. "We will be installing barriers, or 'bollards,' to help keep vehicles from veering out of their intended lane. Sturdy, vertical posts, bollards are frequently used on highways to control road traffic and will provide additional protection for our patrons and everyone working at the auction."

A lot of car auctions at this point take place in open areas where vehicles and pedestrians are able to mingle with limited restrictions. The National Auto Auction Association has attempted to lower the chances of anything like this happening over the last few years, but it has mainly focused on training and incentives offered to the organizers of auctions with high safety standards.

However, the terrible incident in Billerica, Massachusetts proves that these abstract measures are not enough, and attendees need physical protection from any wayward vehicle. Lynnway Auto Auction promises to do that, so let's hope others will do the same without the need of a similar tragedy occurring on their premises.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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