Thursday, 4:30 PM
Milton mourns officer killed in Tobin crash
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff
Flags were lowered to half-staff at Milton municipal buildings today in memory of Michael Devin, a 35-year veteran of the police department, who was killed in a two-car crash on the Tobin Bridge Monday.
The accident on Route 1 in Chelsea remains under investigation as police try to determine "what role, if any alcohol played," according to Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.
Autopsies are scheduled for today and may help determine why the other driver was heading the wrong way on Route 1 when his Toyota Camry collided with Devin's Honda Accord, Wark said. In Milton, people were still trying to come to grips with Devin's 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 the Toyota, driven by Stephen M. Parnell, 50, of Nashua, had been traveling southbound on Route 1 when it 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.