Lynnway Auto Auction Faces Manslaughter Charges

By Ted Craig March 29, 2019 407

 

A grand jury indicted against Lynnway Auto Auction Inc. and its president, James Lamb, on five counts of manslaughter as the result of 2017 accident that killed five people.

On May 3, 2017, a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee operated by an unlicensed driver employed by the auction entered the arena at a high rate of speed and drove into the designated pedestrian area, striking several people before crashing into the cinderblock wall. 

Two victims, Pantaleon Santos and Leezandra Aponte, were pronounced dead on scene. Brenda Lopez was transported to an area hospital where she later died from her injuries.

Nine others were transported to area hospitals. Two additional victims, Elliott Rowlands Jr. and Ruben Espaillat, later died of their injuries.

The driver of the vehicle will not face criminal charges. 

Massachusetts law allows an individual to operate a motor vehicle on private property without a license. As a result, authorities determined they couldn’t meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver of the vehicle acted recklessly.

The indictments allege the company and Lamb are criminally responsible for willfully, wantonly, and recklessly failing to take appropriate actions that could have prevented the death of five people.

After an examination of the crash, investigators determined Lamb, who was responsible for day-to day operations, and the auction as an entity were aware of shortfalls in the safety measures in place and failed to ensure that all drivers were properly licensed and trained.

Prosecutors reviewed reports by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as incident reports generated by the auction itself that described previous instances in which employees were struck by vehicles or otherwise injured in unsafe conditions.

Lynnway had previously been notified that they should not employ unlicensed drivers. Despite these recommendations, Lynnway and Lamb did not ensure that operators had driver’s licenses, and the employer did not train or ensure the employees knew how to operate the vehicles. 

The investigation revealed that despite a 2014 incident in which a worker was seriously injured, the defendants failed to implement safety measures, such as installing barriers to cordon off the auction lanes. Lamb signed the certification of corrective action worksheet and abatement letter on behalf of Lynnway in response to the 2014 incident.

 

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Last modified on Friday, 29 March 2019 15:25