On May 3, 2017, the Lynnway Auto Auction in Billerica was the scene of a tragic accident resulting in three fatalities and multiple people hurt. I received an anxious phone call at the time from an eyewitness, who described a “chaotic, hectic” scene where a Jeep Grand Cherokee, a vehicle being driven in the auction, accelerated through the auto auction lane striking and fatally injuring several people.
The Lynnway Auto Auction is the largest auto auction in New England and operates on 58 acres in North Billerica. It operates eight lanes where vehicles to be auctioned are driven through the auction building. The open lanes consist of single lines of hundreds of cars moving through the auction one after another. The vehicles stop inside the building, where auctioneers lead bidders in a quick auction before the car moves on and then bidding immediately begins on the next vehicle. A typical auction takes about one minute. Many take even less time than that.
I have visited the auction several times over the years, and am familiar with the layout of the auction facility. Several lanes of cars are open at a time right next to each other in order to make it easy for bidders to look at and bid on cars occupying multiple lanes. Typically, hundreds of people are inside the building during the auction.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee was in one of the auction lanes when it suddenly accelerated, striking individuals and driving through the building and into an exterior wall.
This was a heart-wrenching call to have received, and we still remember the victims and their families to this day.