Saturday, 2:15 PM
Driver in Allston crashes had lost license -- twice
(George Rizer/Globe Staff)
By George Rizer, John R. Ellement, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff, and Kate Augusto, Globe Correspondent
The driver of a delivery truck that careened down an Allston thoroughfare and smashed into eight vehicles before bursting into flames this morning has twice had his driver's license suspended for an excessive number of traffic citations, according to Registry of Motor Vehicles records.
The driver was identified by a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation as 38-year-old Timothy Newton of Revere. Registry records show that Newton, who got his license in the late 1980s, lost his license for 60 days in 1997 after a total of seven violations or accidents. He lost his license again in 2005 after five other incidents. He got his license back in July 2007 after completing a mandatory safe driver course for the second time.
The crashes on Commonwealth Avenue injured three people, snarled rush hour traffic through the busy Allston area, and forced the temporary shutdown of the B branch of the MBTA's Green Line for about four hours. A portion of nearby Brighton Avenue was still down to one lane late this afternoon so crews could clean up the fire scene.
Walter Moura was pressing pants at Kwik Time Cleaners on Commonwealth Avenue when he heard a loud bang and looked outside. He said he saw the delivery truck smash into a parked car and keep going, ramming into a Range Rover that was forced off the street and into a building. The truck kept going and burst into flames.
"There was smoke all over the place, Moura said. In just five seconds, it was all in flames. We wondered how the driver got out of it. It was so freaky. It was an ugly scene."
The flames were followed by four explosions that Moura said he assumed were from the tires and gas tank.
Firefighters responded and extinguished the blaze. A hazmat team was called to the scene and several nearby buildings were evacuated because the 18- to 24-foot box truck was carrying at least one flammable material, said Steven MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department. The manifest listing the truck's contents burned up in the fire so it was not immediately clear what was inside. There was not a significant chemical spill, but some automotive liquids did leak into the sewer system, MacDonald said.
(George Rizer/Globe Staff)
The truck was from New England Delivery Service, a Wilmington-based company that makes same-day and next-day deliveries for a wide range of businesses, from medical firms to home improvement centers, according to its website. A man who answered the phone at the company this morning declined to discuss the crashes.
The first crashes occurred shortly before 7:17 a.m. on Commonwealth Avenue near Babcock Street. The truck apparently hit a pickup truck and four cars, which were pushed up onto the sidewalk, witnesses and police said. The truck then rumbled on, continuing west.
About 200 yards down the avenue, near the Brighton Avenue intersection, the truck hit a parked car and the Range Rover and kept going, pushing the Range Rover down the street until it plowed through the glass windows of Comm. Ave. Associates, a realty office that was unoccupied at the time.
"There's glass all over the place, said Michael Jardus, the company owner and president, who joked that his daughter wanted a Range Rover. "I called her and said I got one delivered, but it's a little dented.' "
The delivery truck lurched forward and hit another unoccupied parked car before it finally came to rest on Brighton.
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