Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray has been both a hero and hazard on the road.
In January 2011, Murray came to the aid of a grandmother and her two young grandchildren in his native Worcester. While driving home he saw a minivan with smoke and flames coming out of the car's tires. Murray quickly called 9-1-1 and pulled the grandmother and two grandchildren out of the burning vehicle unharmed, telling press he was just in the right place at the right time and anyone else would do the same.
One year later, Murray is facing heat about his conduct on the road.
On Tuesday, a Massachusetts State Police investigation of "black box" data from a November 2 crash of a state-owned car that the Lt. Governor was driving revealed that at the time of the accident, Murray was driving 100 miles per hour, without a seat belt, and had possibly fallen asleep behind the wheel in the moments before totaling the vehicle. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette published a photo of what was left of the state-issued Ford Crown Victoria the day of the crash:
The car had rolled over after accelerating without breaking or turning, crashing into a rock ledge off Interstate 190 in Sterling, Ma. Miraculously, Murray walked away physically unscathed from the early morning crash.
“I understand that the vehicle accelerated rapidly without braking or turning in the seconds before the accident. The State Police have said that this is consistent with what happens when someone falls asleep at the wheel and I believe that is what caused my accident,” Murray said in a statement.
“I take full responsibility for my accident. I am grateful that I am OK and that no one was injured. Accidents happen quickly and mine was a serious one,” he said. “I appreciate the response and the work of the State Police and I am especially thankful for all of the good wishes my family and I have received since the accident,”
The Boston Globe reports Murray will be ticketed $555 for for speeding, a marked lanes violation, and failure to wear his seat belt,
but will not face more significant charges such as reckless driving. Murray was assigned the unmarked 2007 Ford Crown Victoria to use for state business. The vehicle was purchased for about $35,000 and valued at $9,000 at the time of the crash.
It is unclear at this time if Murray will pay for the totaled car.