HINGHAM -- Days after the horrific Apple store crash in Hingham, new steel barriers were put on the sidewalk along the boarded-up storefront. Lawyers representing several injured victims in the first lawsuit filed after the crash say they should have been there all along.
Attorney Doug Sheff, who represents several people who were hurt in the crash, is expected to file the lawsuit on Tuesday.
"This storefront was so vulnerable, it would have been a very easy fix. This tragedy was 100% preventable and for such a small cost," Sheff told WBZ-TV. "All they needed to do was put in the cement barriers and that would prevent death and serious injuries."
Those barriers, sometimes called bollards, are made of metal or concrete and designed for safety. Data from the Storefront Safety Council shows from 2013- 2022 there have been more than 800 crashes involving cars into buildings in Massachusetts. None of them had protective bollards in place.
So what's driving those numbers? Experts point to a number of things, including weather and store fronts that are closer to the street. As for why Massachusetts does not require bollards at commercial buildings - a pedestrian safety bill that would have helped stalled at the statehouse
Robert Reiter is the co-founder of the Storefront Safety Council. He tells the I-Team that bollards are not a huge expense; it's a one time expense that saves lives every single day.
"Most major retail property owners and most major retailers understand the need for these things. Bollards are really effective if they are correctly installed," Reiter said.
In the forthcoming lawsuit, Doug Sheff points the blame against the driver,, Apple, and the companies that developed, own, and manage the property, saying there should have been safeguards in place.
"This parking lot was only 10 yards or so from this glass storefront. It was entirely foreseeable, and for folks controlling this property not to have thought about that, and to prevent this kind of accident from happening, to expose the public from these dangers really is inconceivable. It is a terrible, terrible shame," Sheff said.
Rein is now charged with reckless homicide by motor vehicle and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
WBZ reached out to Apple and the owners of the property but did not hear back.
Soni Baker, who was injured in the crash, is not directly involved in the lawsuit yet. But she said she's glad to see action is being taken.
"I'm glad. I think that definitely there should be justice. That shouldn't have happened. There should have definitely been more protection," Baker said.
She said the crash has made her less carefree, more anxious to run errands, and has traumatized the friend she was with when it happened.
"She might have over a year of recovery," Baker said. "That's just getting movement in her legs, forget about her neck and her back. And it's just like, these are life-long injuries and stuff we're going to have to deal with."
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