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Car bursts into flames after crash in Somerville

Car fire on Highland Avenue in Somerville

UPDATE, 10:40 a.m. The city of Somerville reports McGrath Highway is open again.

Jared was on scene for what he described as a "brutal accident" at McGrath Highway and Highland Avenue in Somerville shortly before 8 a.m.

David Robichaud reports several cars were involved and that there are injuries.

The intersection could be shut for several hours as State Police clear the intersection and investigate the crash.

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Comments

City of Somerville just tweeted that that area's going to be shut down for a few hours :\

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Drove by that intersection 2 nights ago, state and federal lawmakers need to get funding to restructure these road patterns, along 93. Somerville area. These intersection are always congested and jostly dangerous.

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I disagree, for the most part I feel this is a decently designed and wide road. The lights are spaced to slow traffic down too. Looks like someone must've blown a red light or something to cause this. Hope everyone is ok.

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The hope is that changing it from a highway to a boulevard will pull the speeds down a bit from how people drive it currently. Not much margin for mistakes at 60 mph.

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So if we remove the overpass and add more traffic lights, it will reduce accidents like this one which occurred at a traffic light?

"Boulevard" is misleading. The McGrath at the intersection of Highland isn't exactly the Champs-Élysées.

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Lots of red lights encourage drivers to perform other tasks while waiting. Highways too, though, again with too little cognitive load (ie driving which requires a high level of attention) also invite multi-tasking.

Overpasses are safer because they reduce conflicts (intersections) where drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians could hit each other. That's why they are preferable to flat intersections, besides being more efficient (less waiting for one's turn) for all modes involved.

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Congratulations on finding a way to put a new spin on your Auto Uber Alles philosophy.

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That isn't the case with McGrath. The overpass is there, but it also dumps out onto a pedestrian crossing - so you don't have the benefit of grade separation. It's all or nothing with these sorts of semi-limited access arterials like McGrath and Mem, either separate them fully from non-auto traffic (a la Storrow) or bring them down to grade and treat them like a boulevard. I know which one you'd rather have - and I'm with ya only insofar as the half of this, half of that nature is dangerous.

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this is 2015, I'd say the burning car almost looks like a Ford Pinto.

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Very much hoping that the folks in that car were uninjured enough to get out of it, and that the injuries are minor for all.

Brutal, indeed.

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I wonder if there was any texting involved before crash.and I would like to know which car exploded into flames, was it a mazda or Ford these two car makers have reputations of exploding with a force of impact from behind car, mazda 626, mazda tribute, ford pinto, 79 ford tbird

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the knee-jerk "must've been texting" reaction whenever a crash happens - it is getting pathetic. And if people are that concerned that every driver on the road is apparently texting behind the wheel at all times, then why is texting while driving still only a paltry $100 fine and not a moving violation surchargable offense for insurance purposes?

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But is it really that hard to understand why those comments come up, when you can see the majority of drivers glued to the devices in their hands on any given day?

I agree, the fine isn't only paltry, its useless when it isn't actually enforced by the police because guess what, they do it too! And our state legislators no doubt do the same, so they aren't about to pass any laws with real teeth.

When 52% of drivers admit to talking and driving and 34% admit to texting and driving, its pretty clear that we have a problem with distracted driving.

http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com/texting-and-driving-stats/

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Anecdotal, I know, but I experienced riding a bike around Boston that when I had a close-to-medium call (meaning I was following the traffic rules and had to brake hard/swerve/hop a curb to avoid an accident), the driver was using a phone in the large majority of cases. YMMV, so tell us about it.

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The same fine and registry consequences as a red light or stop sign violation.

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Or is the idea of a local driver actually getting pulled over and suffering any consequences for any of the above considered "farce" instead?

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It's considered science fiction.

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(b) A violation of this section shall be punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense, by a fine of $250 for a second offense and by a fine of $500 for a third or subsequent offense.

(c) A penalty under this section shall not be a surchargeable offense under section 113B of chapter 175.

Unlike a red light or stop sign violation, texting is not a surchargeable offense, even though it's TOTALLY unnecessary and very dangerous.

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I have no clue what happened specifically, but there are expectations of speed and high speeds at this location, very confusing light and lane setups even if you are paying attention, and a lot of potential for mayhem under the best of conditions.

Texting is always a possibility, as are automotive design flaws and poor maintenance. My bet is that it was a violent collision that resulted in a fuel leak, which ultimately resulted in a fire.

FYI: Cars don't generally blow up like they do in the movies! We are seeing the fully involved vehicle - not the progression to that!

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Just saw on the news the driver had a "medical emergency" and lost control of the car.

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Money, and by money, I mean I have a feeling the communication giants don't take kindly to the idea of restricting people's ability to use their product, even if it's the last thing one should be doing while driving, and, yes, in my opinion, it is. As a daily driver on the parking lot they call 93, I see people, moving no faster than 5 miles an hour who can't control their cars - which isn't hard to understand, once you look over and note they're staring at their phone, and not the road, or the car in front of them.

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NECN: http://www.necn.com/news/new-england/Car-Catches-Fire-in-4-Vehicle-Accid...

Sounds like a Somerville High student didn't make it to school :(

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A Pedestrian? (Gasp!)

If he had been wearing reflective clothing, this never would have happened.

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The crash originated with a woman who had a "medical incident" while driving, and hit another car (a Hyundai, not a Mazda or Ford). Neither street conditions/design nor texting played a part in this. You know what they say about assumptions...

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Do you have a link to this info?

Everything I've seen (from the local news feeds) says that the kid was crossing with the light and somebody decided to speed around the stopped traffic, hitting the kid and cars that had the light. (apparently the silver car in front of the autoflambe')

If it was a medical situation, I wonder how likely it is that the driver will be taken off the road? MA is very bad about that - except for epilepsy, where they are about 40 years behind the curve.

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NECN is claiming "officials say speeding has been deemed the cause of the incident". What's the source of the 'medical incident'? Maybe NECN hasn't updated it yet.

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It was actually from NECN that I got the information.
http://www.necn.com/news/new-england/Car-Catches-Fire-in-4-Vehicle-Accid...

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and no mention of speeding. NECN also now reporting medical condition as the cause. No mention of texting either.

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Yeah just got the update too, sounds like some pretty quick response from other drivers/pedestrians might've saved the lives of the two women in the initial crash.

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Such as your assumption that street design played no part in this? That intersection comes after the high-speed McCarthy overpass, which abruptly ends at a stoplight to turn left onto Medford Street. Cars continuing north have a longer green light but must merge right, crossing over traffic trying to get from Washington Street to Medford Street. Pedestrians must cross eight lanes of heavy traffic here with no "safe harbor" if a car comes careening at them, and also have to watch out for traffic turning from Medford Street.

Grounding the McGrath can't come soon enough. I just hope they include the section north of this intersection as well, it's a major barrier between East Somerville and Winter Hill.

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It may have played a part in the number of casualties, but it didn't play a part in the cause of the accident, which was the medical emergency of the woman in the first car.

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And I know that intersection well, and I completely agree with you that it's a mess. I'm surprised more accidents don't happen there.

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They should build an overpass bridge for pedestrians like what they have along storrow drive.Governors transportation highway dept should consider placing one in that area.

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Yes, its true. If there were no signals at intersections, there wouldn't be stopped cars to hit or not-seen lights to blow through and hit a pedestrian or other vehicle.

In this accident, if the light had been green, the woman with the medical condition would not have hit the stopped car causing the fire, nor the pedestrian getting hit by a car. She might have hit a moving car with less impact or gone off the side of the road, or eventually stopped in the road on her own.

This is why there are traffic minimums needed to erect stop signs and traffic lights. The minimums are based on scientific evidence such that the lights or sign prevents more accidents than it causes. Human nature is such that somebody won't see or pay attention to a sign or light. The people who see them and go through anyway is a different story, often doing so cautiously rather than obliviously.

Flattening an overpass generally requires addition of traffic lights, causing more crashes than a free-flowing over or under pass.

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As do backups when there are just too many cars on the road.

I find it hard to believe that you ever drive in the Boston area, particularly inside of I-95/128, given these ridiculous postings that you make. You clearly have never driven this segment of road at rush hour at any time in the last 20 years if you think lights will cause backups that traffic doesn't already cause.

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causing rear-end collisions that would not have happened if traffic were free-flowing. I didn't claim red lights and stop signs were the only cause.

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