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Comm Ave Crashes Cause Delays, T Closings

No dangerous chemicals involved in accident


Firefighters extinguished the flames from a 24-foot box truck on Comm Ave. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Shortly after 7 a.m. on Thursday, a 24-foot box truck filled with medical supplies careened out of control on Commonwealth Avenue near the intersection with Brighton Avenue, smashing into several cars and bursting into flames at the junction of Brighton Avenue. Despite early concerns about injured drivers and hazardous materials in the area, the Boston University Police say that no serious injuries were reported and there was no hazardous chemical threat to the public.

One of the collisions pushed a pickup truck onto the tracks of the Green Line, shutting down B Line service between Blandford Street and Packards Corner until about 11 a.m. Portions of Commonwealth Avenue and Brighton Avenue were also closed for several hours.

The Boston Globe reports that the driver of the truck, identified as Timothy Newton, 38, of Revere, has twice had his license suspended for excessive traffic violations. Chief Thomas Robbins of the BUPD says Newton was released from a Boston hospital Thursday afternoon and was interviewed by Boston Police. Two other people reportedly sustained minor injuries.

Scott Pare, deputy director of public safety for Boston University, says that because the box truck was carrying medical supplies, the area surrounding the accident was cordoned off, and the Boston Fire Department’s hazmat team responded.

“The area was determined nonhazardous upon investigation, the accident was cleared, and the road was reopened,” Robbins says. “During the entire incident, BUPD officers were in continual contact with Boston Police, Fire, and other city officials. At no time was there any threat indicated that would have affected the Boston University community — had there been, the Boston Police and Fire would have immediately notified the BUPD, and we would have initiated our emergency notification protocols.”

Although the chaos snarled traffic in the area, Boston University remained open, and final exams took place as scheduled. University registrar Florence Bergeron sent an e-mail notice to all Charles River faculty shortly after the incident, noting that accidents might delay students heading to exams and asking professors to “extend any courtesies you can to these students.” Bergeron says that as of Thursday afternoon, the registrar’s office had not received any calls from students or professors about difficulties holding or getting to exams, although, she adds, “undoubtedly there were some professors and students who were delayed.”

“The message we’re putting out to students is that if you missed your exam, contact your professor as soon as possible,” Bergeron says. “And what we’ve said to faculty is that if you need to reschedule and need a classroom, we’ll be happy to find that space for you.”

Chris Berdik can be reached at cberdik@bu.edu. Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.


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