‘Screeching of Tires,’ Then Death at an Auto Show

This still image from video provided by NBC Boston shows wreckage after a vehicle suddenly accelerated at an auto auction and struck several people before it crashed through a wall of a building.   (NBC Boston)

(NEWSER) – An SUV being shown to prospective buyers at a crowded indoor auto auction suddenly accelerated with a screech of its tires and crashed through a wall on Wednesday, killing three people, including a woman working her first day there, and injuring nine. An auction employee in his 70s was behind the wheel of the 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee when it apparently lurched out of control and mowed people down at LynnWay Auto Auction in Billerica, Mass., about 20 miles northwest of Boston, the AP reports. One man and two women were killed in the crash. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan says two of the injured had life-threatening injuries but the driver wasn’t hospitalized.

“The preliminary investigation suggests this is a tragic accident,” Ryan says. Orlando Aponte identified one of the three people killed as his sister, Leezandra Aponte, who was in her 30s, lived in Lowell, and had three children. He said it was her first day working at LynnWay. An auto auction employee who saw the crash, Woody Tuttle, told WCVB the building has eight lanes in which vehicles on the auction block line up. People were standing between the lanes when one vehicle suddenly took off, Tuttle said. “I heard a screeching of tires,” he said. “In avoiding the cars, whoever was driving this vehicle hit several people.”