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I-93 Protests Divert Ambulance Carrying Driver With Life-Threatening Injuries

BOSTON (CBS) -- An ambulance carrying a car crash victim with life-threatening injuries had to be diverted Thursday morning because of protests that shut down parts of Interstate 93, officials said.

Easton Fire Chief Kevin Partridge said that an 83-year-old driver with head and torso injuries was being taken to Boston Medical Center after a single-car crash on Canton Street in Easton at 7:23 a.m.

Easton Crash I-93 Protest
The scene of a one-car crash in Easton where a man was seriously injured. (WBZ-TV)

It was around that time that protesters unloaded and chained themselves to 1,200-pound cement barrels on I-93 northbound in Milton and locked arms inside plastic tubing on I-93 southbound in Medford, police say. The protesters said their actions were in solidarity with the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

Partridge told WBZ-TV's Christina Hager that the actions of protesters were "irresponsible."

"You have a right to protest, and whatever your opinion is, you can do it in a safe and effective way, and this is not the way," said Partridge.

Due to the traffic impact, the ambulance had to be diverted to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, which is not a Level 1 Trauma Center like BMC. The condition of the victim has not yet been released.

"Any time that you divert public safety services to an incident like this, it creates other potentially catastrophic problems," Massachusetts State Police Col. Tim Alben said. "People's rights are people's rights, but you're endangering people's lives with this kind of conduct."

The activists said in a statement to media outlets that they intended to "disrupt business as usual and protest police and state violence against Black people."

Twenty-seven protesters have been arrested and face charges including trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

The Boston area saw several protests in November and December following grand jury decisions not to indict officers in the police-involved deaths of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York. But the local protesters had not successfully shut down major highways until Thursday.

"I don't think we can be in a situation where people be endangered by this on a daily basis," Alben said. "There cannot be any tolerance for this."


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