Thursday, 4:30 PM
Alcohol not likely a factor in Tobin crash
(Milton Police Department)
Milton police Detective Michael A. Devin died Monday in a two-car accident on the Tobin Bridge.
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff
Investigators determined today that a medical condition -- and not alcohol -- was the likely cause of a horrific accident Monday on the Tobin Bridge that left two people dead after a car drove the wrong direction on Route 1, according to a spokesman for Suffolk County district attorney.
The crash killed Michael A. Devin, a 35-year veteran of the Milton police department, when his Honda Accord collided with a car driven by Stephen M. Parnell, 50, who was heading the wrong way on the Chelsea side of the Tobin Bridge.
"The preliminary investigation does not suggest that either party was intoxicated," said Jake Wark, the spokesman for the district attorney's office, who added no alcohol containers were found in either vehicle. "Investigators are examining the possibility that Mr. Parnell had a medical condition that may have contributed to the collision."
Wark would not be more specific about the medical issues. He said results of toxicology tests, which are not expected immediately, will be used to definitively rule out alcohol. Autopsies were to be performed today.
Flags were lowered to half-staff at Milton municipal buildings in memory of Devin, 57, as the town tried to come to grips with his death.
"I saw him Thursday night at an affair and we had a good chat," said James G. Mullen, Jr., chairman of the town's board of selectmen and Devin's brother-in-law. "We had a good chat, and he was talking about retirement."
Mullen said the two other selectmen supported his request to lower the flags to honor Devin, who also served in the United States Marine Corps.
Milton Police Deputy Chief Paul Nolan, who worked with Devin for most of his career, said the accident has plunged the small department into mourning.
"The tragedy is for the fact that he puts in 35 years here and does everything you ask him to do and he never gets to enjoy his retirement," Nolan said of the father of three adult children. "Clearly it's a big loss for us ... He was just a class act. He is going to be sorely missed by everyone in this building, that's for sure."
Police said Parnell, of Nashua, had been traveling southbound on Route 1 in a Toyota Camry when the car crashed into another vehicle a short distance before the Tobin Bridge toll booths. The Toyota reversed direction and was traveling north in the southbound lanes of Route 1 when it struck Devin's Honda near Fifth Street in Chelsea, police said.
Both Parnell and Devin were pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital. The passenger in Devin's vehicle, Ann Condon, 50, a mother of three from Milton and a Police Department civilian employee, survived the crash and was at Mass. General, according to police, relatives, and hospital officials.