Three people were killed and more than a dozen people seriously hurt when a Jeep Cherokee sped through a crowded auto auction in Billerica Wednesday morning. It happened just after 10 a.m. on Charter Way at Lynnway Auto Auction.
At least three people were killed Wednesday when an SUV apparently careened through a large auto auction facility in Billerica, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.
Multiple people were injured. Six people were taken to Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said. Their conditions were not released.
The crash took place at the Lynnway Auto Auction, where a vehicle slammed into an exterior wall around 10:15 a.m., roughly 90 minutes after an auction was scheduled to begin.
“This is a horrible accident,’’ said Burlington Fire Chief Thomas Conway.
Woody Tuttle, an auto auction employee, said the driver of the Jeep tried to avoid hitting other vehicles when it struck several people who were standing between one of the facility’s eight lanes.
“I heard a screeching of tires, and, I believe, a Jeep Cherokee went flying by me. In avoiding the cars, whoever was driving this vehicle hit several people,” Tuttle said.
The Jeep then continued though the side of the building.
“(The driver) avoided the cars, and went on to hit the people who were standing between the cars,” Tuttle said. “Three (men) were on the ground being tended to. There was a woman who was crying, but she was standing up, and I saw two men on the ground who appeared to be dead.”
Randy Miller, an auction attendee, said the vehicle seemed to be traveling around 40 mph.
“We heard a bang or an explosion. It was almost like a bomb. The whole place just went silent,” Miller said. “There were people just lying on the ground — a horrific, crazy, tragic situation.”
Police do not believe the crash was intentional at this time.
“At this point, there is no evidence or information to suggest the incident was caused by an intentional or terrorist act,’’ State Police said in a statement. “All evidence and information at this time suggests an accidental cause.”
According to WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager, the driver of the Jeep was taken away in an ambulance.
Massachusetts State Police have a crash reconstruction team and detectives on the scene to assist Billerica Police.
There will be a 1:00 P.M. news conference on the crash, according to officials.
Lynnway Auto Auction
The Lynnway Auto Auction is the largest vehicle auction in the New England area, serving Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine and Rhode Island. It has been a dealer consignment auction since 1997.