Massachusetts

4th Victim Dies 1 Week After Lynnway Auto Auction Crash

A fourth victim has died one week after a crash at an auto auction in Billerica, Massachusetts.

Elliott Rowlands Jr., 50, passed at Lahey Clinic, according to Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan.

A Jeep Grand Cherokee lost control and plowed into a crowd last Wednesday, crashing through a wall at the Lynnway Auto Auction. Brenda Lopez, 48, and Pantaleon Santos, 49, both of Rhode Island, died at the scene. Thirty-six-year-old Leezandra Aponte of Lowell, Massachusetts, died from her injuries later that day.

Nine other people, including Rowlands, were hospitalized.

Rowlands' family did not want to talk but people who knew him said he will be remembered as a father, grandfather and friend.

"(He) loved his kids, he was a great great guy," said family friend Katie Demoranville. "My heart breaks for his family, breaks for his family."

Melinda Sisco said Rowlands was a great neighbor who loved his family.

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"He was always there for his kids. "It’s very heartbreaking just to know he’s not coming home. It’s very sad," said Sisco.

Ryan called the crash a "tragic accident." Investigators say there was no indication it was an intentional act.

The driver, who is not being named by NBC Boston, said Friday that he was driving inside the building when he lost control.

"Defective car that took off all by itself," he explained. "I put it in drive and something in the car accelerated out of control — it took a fraction of a second."

The man went on to say he's "very upset, and very unhappy, and very, very sorry about what happened and who got hurt."

Rowlands' death was announced just hours after Lynnway Auto Auction held a house prayer service to honor the other victims killed in the crash.

"We continue to be shocked and saddened at the loss of life and injuries that occurred as a result of last week's tragic accident," Lynnway President Jim Lamb said in a statement. "At this morning's service, words of comfort, sympathy and prayer were offered. We want to extend those thoughts to the family of Mr. Rowlands, who passed away today from his injuries. Our prayers and condolences are with them and all of those who have been impacted by the accident."

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