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Tow Truck Removed From Roxbury Apartment Building

ROXBURY (CBS) -- The driver of a city tow truck that crashed into a 6-family apartment building in Roxbury told police he accidentally hit a car parked a few feet off the curb, his brakes failed, he hit another parked car then the building.

Remarkably, the only injury was a minor one to the driver's leg for which he was treated and released from the hospital. The driver, whose name was not released by police or any other city department, has not been cited or charged. He has been placed on paid administrative leave while the crash is under investigation by Boston Police and the city's transportation department.

WBZ-TV's Ron Sanders reports.

"It actually sounded like something heavy fell from the sky," said Cynthia O'Brien who lives across St. James Street from the 4-story brick building that shook when it was struck just before 6 p.m. Monday.

She went outside and saw the tow truck driver.

"When I saw him he was laughing with a couple of the other buddies from the tow trucks that were down at the end of the hill and I asked him what he was laughing at and he looked at me like I had 20 heads. But people said he might have been in shock," she said.

Helen Pettijohn's parked car was struck by the tow truck before it hit the building next to her home. She also said the driver was laughing shortly after the crash.

"He looked like his eyes were glassy or whatever and he just kept screaming before anybody said anything, 'It's not my fault! It's not my fault!' And nobody was asking was it his fault because everybody was trying to see if everybody in the building was o.k.," said Pettijohn.

Boston Transportation Commissioner Thomas Tinlin said the driver submitted to standard drug and alcohol screenings, but would not say when results will be available.

"He has been nothing but cooperative both in terms of written and oral statements and he allowed a drug and alcohol screening to take place which he really didn't have to do but he realized the benefit, I think, to him," said Tinlin.

The commissioner said his department has GPS analysis from the tow truck that shows its speed but he would not disclose that speed.

The police report says a witness to the accident told an officer the driver was not speeding.

Tinlin said his department will go over the truck with a "fine tooth comb" and review maintenance records, but there was nothing to date to indicate the truck was anything but sound.

He also said there was nothing in the driver's record at the date of hire to indicate he was anything but a safe driver. Tinlin would not say when the driver was hired.

Neighbors said residents of the damaged apartment building were staying with relatives.

Tinlin said anyone affected should work through their insurance companies as in any accident. The truck was removed from the building by two larger tow trucks with no further damage nearly 24 hours after the crash.


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