Fatal Crash in Chelmsford

Only about 15 minutes after I left work last night a 31-year-old Tyngsboro man travelling north on Princeton Street in Chelmsford drove into a large utility pole at the road’s interesection with Gay Street.

He died of his injuries early this morning, according to Police Chief James Murphy.

Murphy said only that man’s car was involved, and that he was alone in the car. The crash was reported at 12:25 a.m.

The large utility pole, which was unbroken by the crash, stands on the sidewalk in front of the home where Barbara Pickering has lived for 30-years.

Pickering told me the sound of the crash woke her and her husband. She was taken aback to learn the crash had been fatal. She said the driver appeared to be unconscious when firefighters removed him from the car, but that the car did not appear that badly damaged.

“That’s terrible,” she said upon hearing the news.

Pickering expressed sympathy for the man, and said she doubts he was speeding since the pole remained intact.

“If he was going any kind of speed that would be in my yard,” she said of the pole.

Pickering said it appeared the car bounced off the utility pole, because it came to rest 10 to 15 feet back from the pole. I’m pretty sure the small white marks in the street, in the picture above, are paint marks indicating where the car’s tires were when police arrived at the scene. Police often make these marks during accident reconstruction.

Chief Murphy said firefighters, responding from the fire station across the street, freed the 31-year-old from the car before a MedFlight helicopter flew him to Massachusetts General Hospital with “serious, multiple injuries.”

He was pronounced dead later in the morning.

Chief Murphy said the crash remains under investigation.

Pickering said police remained at the scene until about 3 a.m., and then returned during the day today.

The area is largely commercial but I knocked on a couple other doors of residential homes in the area, but people either didn’t answer or didn’t want to talk.

UPDATE: Chief Murphy identified the driver today as Sothea Chan, 31, of 32 Middlesex Road, Tyngsboro. It looks like Chan was only about a mile and a half from home.

Murphy also said it appears Chan wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

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