RAYNHAM, Mass. (WPRI) — An investigation by Massachusetts State Police will determine whether criminal charges are warranted in a crash on I-495 that claimed the lives of two people.
The two victims were identified Wednesday as Lauren A. Dyer, 62, of Braintree, and Christopher L. Sheppard, 57, of East Bridgewater. Dyer was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police, while Sheppard later died at the hospital.
The crash took place around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday in the area of Exit 22 in Raynham.
Police said the preliminary investigation showed Sheppard, a mechanic, was in a pickup truck following a tractor-trailer owned by the company he worked for when the driver noticed a possible mechanical issue and detached his trailer. After moving the trailer off the road, both vehicles continued northbound in the right lane when one of the tractor-trailer’s axles became dislodged and rolled into the other travel lanes, along with the attached tandem wheels.
Both drivers stopped and Sheppard walked into the roadway to retrieve the axel and wheels. Several oncoming vehicles stopped to allow for this, police said, including a pickup truck driven by Dyer.
It was then a second tractor-trailer hit Dyer’s truck from behind, causing it to be crushed between the two tractor-trailers.
Sheppard’s pickup was also struck, which hit him while he was in the roadway, according to police.
While Dyer was pronounced dead at the scene, Sheppard was flown to Rhode Island Hospital with severe injuries, to which he later succumbed.
Police said the two tractor-trailer operators — a 28-year-old Halifax man and a 23-year-old East Raynham man – were taken to area hospitals to be evaluated for possible minor injuries.
A fifth vehicle, an SUV driven by a 47-year-old Plymouth woman, also sustained minor damage but the driver was not injured.
I-495 was reduced to one lane for several hours as a result of the crash. All lanes were back open by noon.