State Police are searching for the driver of a dump truck that allegedly dropped a mattress on Route 128 Tuesday, leading to a two-car crash that killed one woman.
At about 3 p.m., the mattress flew off the top of a truck traveling southbound on the highway near the Burlington Mall. A Toyota Corolla sedan stopped abruptly to avoid the mattress, causing a Toyota Tundra pickup truck to rear-end it, said State Police.
Emergency responders rushed to the scene and found the sedan on its side in the middle of the road, said Assistant Burlington Fire Chief Michael Patterson.
Each vehicle was occupied by one person; both were taken to the hospital, said Patterson.
Frida Litvak, 56, of Framingham, the operator of the sedan, died at Lahey Clinic later that day, said State Police.
Litvak was remembered by her neighbors today as a hard-working woman,
“I feel so sad because she was a nice lady,” said Licio Porto, who lives down the hall in a brick Edmands Road apartment complex in Framingham.
Neighbor Marta Risman said Litvak supported her elderly father.
“I’m so sorry,” said Risman. “She was a very good person.”
Litvak’s sister, Galina, said Frida was on her way home to pick up her father for a doctor’s appointment when the accident happened.
Frida slammed on her brakes to avoid the fallen mattress and was struck at high speed from behind, Galina said.
“They said if she had swerved, more people would have been in the accident,” Galina said. She said she hoped police would be able to find the driver of the truck carrying the mattress.
“You have to think before you do something,” she said. “Not just do. A lot of people drive like they are the only person on the road.”
Galina said the family had immigrated to the United States from Ukraine as refugees in 2000.
The surviving victim was Andrew Lawendowski, 43, of Charlton. He suffered minor injuries. Both operators were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, said State Police.
The State Police will continue to investigate the crash. They are seeking a large dump truck with a white cab and possibly black netting or a tarp partially covering its bed. The bed is believed to be dark in color, with wood along the sides. The truck was occupied by two males and it was carrying multiple mattresses, State Police said.
Anyone with more information is asked to contact the Concord State Police barracks at 978-369-4100. Jacqueline Tempera contributed to this report. Peter Schworm can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.