Single-car crash spoils holiday weekend

A woman from Groton and a Dunstable man were tragically killed in a single-car accident this past holiday weekend, early Sunday morning, September 2, 2012, at around 5:30am. A third person, the man who was driving the Ford pick-up truck, was transported to Lowell General Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to police Sergeant Robert Romilly. The crash occurred on Great Road, just west of the intersection with Gilson Road. The truck appeared to have jumped off the road and hit a pole on the passenger side of the vehicle, flipping the automobile and ejecting the two passengers who were pronounced dead at the scene. Littleton State Police and the Middlesex District Attorney office are investigating. The two departed have since been identified as 21 year olds Taylor DeLuca of Groton and Richard Mitchell of Dunstable.

I’m normally disinclined to write a blog about a car accident that involves death. I’ve always found the saying “If it bleeds, it leads” to be distasteful at best. But an officer was quoted at the scene as saying that when it comes to determining what happened to these three people, “speed is going to be a factor.” The police also don’t believe that the two ejected passengers were wearing their seatbelts. But since the story was released, the possibility of drug or alcohol abuse playing a role has been eliminated. So what I’ve chiefly taken away from this incident is that this was an absolutely preventable calamity. That’s sad to me, especially since it happened over a long weekend where people get together to forget the daily grind to enjoy each other, to enjoy life.

In a way it feels trite to repeat the steps for safe driving but there are too many stories like this one. And so maybe, sometimes, trite is necessary.

Facts about seatbelts:

• 80% of all death to children in a motor vehicle accident could be prevented by properly securing the safety harnesses and seatbelts. (James Madison University)
• As many as 17,000 people could be saved every year by wearing a seatbelt. (James Madison University)
• For survivors, average medical costs are 50% higher for those not wearing a seatbelt. (
• Of the 32,598 passengers killed in 2002 as the result of an automobile crash, almost 60% were not wearing seatbelts. (Naval Safety Center)
• Only 1% of passengers who were restrained were ejected from car seats during a car crash. Of those ejected (restrained and unrestrained), 73% were killed. (Naval Safety Center)

Facts about speeding:
• The economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is estimated at $27.7 billion per year. (NHTSA, 1999)
• Crash forces on impact double with every 10 mile per hour increase in speed above 50 miles per hour. As crash forces increase, so does one�s chances of being killed or seriously injured in a crash. (NHTSA, 1995)
• Young drivers (under 30 years old) are more likely to speed than other drivers. Of all drivers involved in fatal crashes, young males are most likely to speed. The relative proportion of speeding-related fatal crashes decreases with increasing driver age. (NHTSA, 1999)
• Alcohol involvement and speeding often go hand-in-hand. In 1998, 43 percent of drivers with a 0.10 BAC or higher who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared with 14 percent of the sober (0.00 BAC) drivers in fatal crashes. (NHTSA, 1999)
• Speed was a factor in 30 percent (12,477) of all traffic fatalities in 1998, second only to alcohol (39 percent) as a cause of fatal crashes.

You can learn more at the top two sites listed under “sources.” And if you, or anyone close to you, has any questions, concerns, or need for counsel regarding a motor incident, please feel free to contact Altman and Altman at your earliest convenience.


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