Lynnway Auto Auction, Inc. and its president, James Lamb were indicted this week on five counts of manslaughter in connection with a 2017 fatal crash, according to an announcement given by the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office.
An arraignment date for Lamb has not been scheduled.
The attorney's office alleges that in the 2017 fatal crash, where more than 10 people were injured and five died, the auction and its president were aware of shortfalls in safety measures at the auction but failed to enact measures to improve them.
The driver of the vehicle that struck the pedestrians will not face criminal charges. He was driving with an expired license but under Massachusetts Law, he is able to operate a motor vehicle on private property without a license.
Since the auction was not a public way, it was determined that the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver of the vehicle acted recklessly would not be able to be met.
The Details of the 2017 Incident
The 2017 crash involved a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee being operated by an unlicensed driver employed by Lynnway Auto Auction.
The driver entered the auction showroom at a high rate of speed — an estimated 32 mph — and drove into the designated pedestrian area, hit several people, and crashed through a cinderblock wall.
Two of the pedestrians hit were pronounced dead on scene, one was transported to a hospital and later died from her injuries, and two others also died later of their injuries. Seven other people suffered injuries from the accident.
Reports from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) showed that there had been other instances where Lynnway Auto Auction employees had been truck by vehicles or injured in unsafe conditions.
In 2014, an employee was seriously injured at Lynnway Auto Auction. After this incident no safety measures, such as barriers to cordon off lanes, were put in place, according to the allegations. Lamb signed the certification of corrective action worksheet and abatement letter on behalf of Lynnway Auto Auction in response to the 2014 incident even though safety measures were not fully implemented, the attorney's office alleged.
OSHA also recommended that Lynnway Auto Auction not hire unlicensed drivers, but the proper checks were not put in place by the auction to ensure that, the attorney's office alleged. Furthermore, the auction did not train or ensure that the employees knew how to operate the vehicles they were operating, according to the allegations.