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UPDATED: Westford Woman Killed in I-495 Crash

Marlborough first responders were among those to help out at the fatal crash Friday afternoon.

UPDATED, 8:30 p.m.: The crash on Route 495 southbound, south of Exit 23C/Simarano Drive in Southborough, killed a female passenger and seriously injured three people, according to Massachusetts State Police.

At 1:03 p.m., the Westborough Fire Department responded to a reported rollover accident, and state police in Millbury were called to the scene at 1:15 p.m. State police said a 2010 Freightliner M2106 truck, registered in Massachusetts and owned by DL Peterson Trust of Maryland, was towing a 2007 Case backhoe/front-end loader on a trailer. It was traveling south on Route 495 when the backhoe rolled off of the trailer and landed on top of a 2000 Toyota Sienna operated by a 42-year-old Westford woman, Yingzi Wang.

The Toyota and the backhoe traveled down an embankment approximately 20 feet and came to final rest with the backhoe on top of the Toyota. The four occupants were trapped inside.

Xjaoyun Jiang, of Westford, who was a backseat passenger in the Toyota, was pronounced dead at the scene. Family members told police that she was in her 70s.

The operator of the Toyota was transported by medical helicopter to UMass Medical Center. Two children, a 10-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, passengers in the Toyota, were transported by ambulance to UMass Medical Center. State police have not released the names of the children or their relationships to others in the car.

The operator of the truck, Jeffrey Fisher, 49, of Coventry, Rhode Island, was not injured. The truck was operated by National Grid, the company that owned and operated the backhoe/front-end loader.  

Westborough crews were the first to arrive at the crash location. Initial responders reported that people in the car were “completely trapped.”

At about 1:30 p.m., state police stopped traffic to allow two helicopters to land on the highway. Southbound traffic was diverted onto the Simarano Drive exit.

Emergency personnel were still working to extricate victims more than an hour after the crash. All victims were reportedly extricated by 2:30 p.m.

In addition to seven paramedics and two ambulances from Westborough, emergency crews were sent to the location from Southborough and Marlborough. Troopers were also assisted by the Department of Transportation’s Highway Division.

The crash remains under investigation by Troop C of the Massachusetts State Police with the assistance of the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, the State Police Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Section and the State Police Crime Scene Services Section.

The two right travel lanes and the breakdown lane were closed for about six hours and traffic was delayed for approximately three and a half miles. All lanes were opened at 8:00 p.m.

 

UPDATE: Aug. 12, 4:25 p.m. - State police officials have released updated information concerning the crash on 495 southbound at the Simarano Drive exit, near the Southborough/Marlborough line Friday afternoon. 

"Preliminary investigation by Trooper Craig Brabham indicates that a 2010 Freightliner truck towing a 2007 Case backhoe on a trailer, was travelling south on Route 495 when the backhoe rolled off of the trailer and landed on top of a 2000 Toyota Sienna operated by  a 42-year-old Westford woman," said a release. "The Toyota and the backhoe travelled down an embankment approximately 20 feet and came to final rest with the backhoe on top of the Toyota. The four occupants of the Toyota were trapped inside. 

A woman, estimated to be in her 60s, sitting in the back seat of the Toyota at the time of the crash, was pronounced dead at the scene, said the release. 

Scanner traffic revealed that at least two rescue helicopters were dispatched to the scene, which had motorists waiting in traffic for hours, said one commuter. 

The identity of the deceased is being withheld at this time to allow notification of the family. 

"The operator of the Toyota was transported by medical helicopter to UMass Medical Center (in Worcester). Two children who were also passengers in the Toyota, were transported by ambulance to UMass Medical Center," said the release.  

The operator of the truck, Jeffrey Fisher, 49, of Coventry, RI, was not injured, according to police.  

The truck is owned by National Grid, said the release. 

UPDATE: Aug. 12, 3:40 p.m. - At least one person is dead after a frontend loader being towed on Rt. 495 southbound by a construction vehicle rolled over and landed on a car with four people inside. The crash happened around 1 p.m. and sent the car down an embankment just south of the Simarano Drive exit in Southborough just before the Marlborough line.

“There was one fatality that we know of,” said Capt. Joe Lawrence of the .

Westborough crews were the first to arrive at the crash location. Initial responders reported that people in the car were “completely trapped.” All were immediately reported to have very serious injuries.

Life Flight was requested by 1:15 p.m. and instructed to land on the highway. At 1:35 p.m., personnel from Life Flight were heard on the scanner asking for landing clearance on the highway. Shortly afterward, Med Flight out of Boston was sent to the scene, Lawrence said.

The Massachusetts State Police stopped traffic to allow the helicopters to land on the highway. Southbound traffic was diverted onto the Simarano Drive exit.

Emergency personnel were still working to extricate victims over an hour after the crash. All victims were reportedly extricated by 2:30 p.m.

In addition to seven paramedics and two ambulances from Westborough, emergency crews were sent to the location from Southborough, the and Patriot Ambulance.

State police are expected to be at the scene through the evening.

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EM August 19, 2011 at 03:52 PM
It would be interesting to know whether there was any negligence on the part of National Grid, the operator of the Freightliner towing the trailer off of which the backhoe rolled. Are their procedures and safety checks adequate? Did the people who put the backhoe on the trailer follow all procedures? Were there any foreseeable mechanical failures, such as use of a worn or rusted chain or hook, that could have caused this accident? All of us who drive on highways depend on truckers and haulers of all kinds, to secure their loads safely. This story makes me think I should give a very wide berth to anyone transporting anything that could slide off a flatbed or come unhitched at a tow point.
Josh Gray August 19, 2011 at 06:22 PM
Thanks for your comment. The media was given a notice on Wednesday from the state police, saying they would not be commenting on the situation for several weeks due to an ongoing investigation. There is a possibility negligence was involved, but we won't know for sure for some time. Personally, I agree. I watch trucks with big/heavy loads very carefully when I am on the highway.
John Ryan August 19, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Actually I saw a story on this yesterday confirming that National Grid was test driving the new truck because of reported problems with steering. The fact that they chose 495 on a busy afternoon is beyond my comprehension.

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