At 7:15 a.m. yesterday (Tuesday, Nov. 9) numerous Massachusetts State Police Troopers responded to a multiple-vehicle serious crash on Route 495 northbound in Raynham, prior to Exit 22. The crash resulted in two fatalities, the female operator of a pickup truck who was determined to be deceased on scene and the male operator of another pickup, who was hit while on foot outside his vehicle, and who was pronounced deceased last night at Rhode Island Hospital.
Preliminary investigation by Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police, the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, the State Police Detective Unit for Bristol County, the State Police Crime Scene Services Section, and the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section, indicates the following.
At approximately 7:15 a.m. a 1985 Peterbilt tractor owned by Collins Crane and Rigging of East Bridgewater was being operated northbound by a 28-year-old Halifax man at a slow speed within the right lane and breakdown lane. The Peterbilt was being followed by 2011 Chevrolet Silverado pickup also owned by the company and operated by a company mechanic, identified as Christopher L. Sheppard, 57, of East Bridgewater.
A short time earlier, the Peterbilt tractor’s operator and the mechanic who had been following him, Mr. Sheppard, detached a trailer the tractor had been pulling because the tractor operator had observed a possible mechanical problem with his vehicle. The trailer was detached from the tractor and moved off the road, and the tractor continued northbound with the Silverado following.
While the Peterbilt tractor was northbound at a low speed, one of its passenger-side axles became dislodged and the axle and attached tandem wheels rolled into the travel lanes. The tractor operator and Mr. Sheppard, the Silverado operator following him, both stopped their vehicles. Mr. Sheppard exited his pickup and walked into the roadway to retrieve the axle and wheels.
As he did so, several other northbound vehicles stopped to allow him to retrieve the wheels. One of the vehicles that stopped was a 2008 Toyota Tacoma pickup operated by Lauren A. Dyer, 62, of Braintree.
At that time, a 1998 Volvo tractor owned by Truckah LLC of Easton and operated by a 23-year-old East Raynham man, which was pulling a dump trailer with a Maine registration and owned by a recycling company, was northbound approaching the stopped traffic.
The Volvo tractor pulling the dump trailer struck the stopped Toyota Tacoma operated by Ms. Dyer from behind. The impact pushed the Tacoma into the Peterbilt tractor and Silverado pickup that were stopped in front of the Tacoma. The Tacoma was crushed between the front of the Volvo tractor and the rear of the Peterbilt tractor. Additionally, the impact pushed the Silverado into Mr. Sheppard, who was standing outside of the pickup after having attempted to retrieve the dislodged axle.
Ms. Dyer, the Tacoma operator, suffered fatal injuries in the collision. Mr. Sheppard, the Silverado operator who was struck while on foot, suffered severe injuries and was transported by medical helicopter to Rhode Island Hospital. He passed away from his injuries last night.
The operators of the Volvo tractor (the 23-year-old Raynham man) and the Peterbilt tractor (the 28-year-old Halifax man) were transported by EMS to area hospitals for evaluation of possible minor injuries. A 2008 Volvo XC90 sport utility vehicle also sustained minor damage in the incident. Its operator, a 47-year-old Plymouth woman, had no apparent injuries.
The investigation into the incident to determine whether criminal charges are warranted is ongoing. The investigation includes crash reconstruction, examination and analysis of physical and forensic evidence, commercial vehicle inspections, and witness interviews, among other actions. No further information about the investigation will be released while it is ongoing.
The crash resulted in the closure of all northbound lanes and adjacent ramps for several hours. All lanes were re-opened just before noon.