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‘It was like a bomb’: How witnesses and survivors described the deadly Hingham Apple store crash

"You could hear people screaming for their lives, screaming at the top of their lungs."

Apple store crash

The commotion didn’t sound like an SUV.

The sounds of shattering glass and the screams that followed made Shaelin Mason think that whatever happened next door from her job at Brandy Melville, the women’s clothing store at Hingham’s Derby Street Shops, was a fiery blast.

“It sounded like an explosion,” Mason, an assistant store manager, told WBZ-TV on Tuesday. “It was like a bomb or something went off, a big explosion.”

Chloe Murphy, a fellow manager, knew, too, that something was amiss.

“We looked at each other like two deer in the headlights,” Murphy said. 

Mason and Murphy were just a wall away from Monday’s fatal crash at the Apple store in Hingham, which left Kevin Bradley, a 65-year-old man from New Jersey, dead and 20 other people injured.

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Authorities say Bradley Rein, 53, of Hingham, was behind the wheel of the 2019 Toyota 4Runner that barreled through the store’s glass facade that morning.

In court on Tuesday, Rein, now charged with reckless homicide by motor vehicle, had a plea of not guilty entered on his behalf. He was held on $100,000 cash bail.

Rein told investigators his right foot got stuck on his SUV’s accelerator in the moments before the crash. He attempted to brake with his left foot but he could not stop the vehicle, he said.

Multiple people initially suffered life-threatening and limb-threatening injuries, doctors at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth said earlier this week.

But of the 16 victims treated at the hospital, all are expected to survive without need for amputations, doctors later said.

Witnesses shared their accounts with reporters on Tuesday, describing chaotic and harrowing experiences.

Mason and Murphy told WBZ-TV they initially ran out of their store, afraid that they were in danger. Outside, they saw the carnage from the crash.

“You could hear people screaming for their lives, screaming at the top of their lungs,” Mason said. 

Murphy told the news station she watched someone try to crawl out of the Apple store. Victims were lying all around, she said.

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The two women were still shaken up by the incident on Tuesday.

“When I looked at how close it was to Brandy Melville, it was like 20 feet over and it could have been me or Shaelin,” Murphy said.

Soni Baker, 21, of Weymouth, was inside the Apple store, sitting with a friend who needed to have her iPhone fixed, she recalled to WCVB.

She heard a “huge bang,” looked up, and saw glass everywhere before she blacked out, she said.

Baker broke her leg in two places, fractured several vertebrae, and suffered from slight bleeding in her brain, she told WBZ-TV.

She believes she was dragged by Rein’s SUV.

“I wasn’t sure if there was a bomb, or I wasn’t sure if we were being shot at, I was so confused,” Baker told WBZ-TV. “The car smashed into me. And I fell and hit my head. That’s probably why I blacked out. I don’t know what was over me. I don’t know if it was God, but something was like ‘Nope,’ something was like ‘Not right now.'” 

Sharon Nasser was at the store learning how to use her new Apple Watch.

Nasser said she suffered an injury when her fingers were bent back, almost in a U-like shape, she told WCVB.

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In an interview with police Monday evening, Rein told authorities he was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and voluntarily took an initial breath test, which registered a “zero” blood alcohol content reading, a prosecutor said in court Tuesday.

Rein added he had no medical conditions that impaired his ability to drive a car and the SUV did not have any known mechanical issues, officials said.

He has no known connection to the Apple store, prosecutors said.

An attorney for Rein told a judge Tuesday the crash was “an unfortunate accident” and highlighted how Rein has cooperated with investigators.

Some victims are skeptical about Rein’s explanation, though.

“How could you just get your foot stuck?” Nassar said.

As authorities search for answers, Baker indicated the experience gave her an important reminder.

“You have to appreciate life and tell people you love them and care about them,” she told WCVB. “Just appreciate your life and appreciate everything you have.”

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