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State Police: Pickup sideswipes car, plunges into Charles; both occupants dead

Rescuing two people from a car in the Charles River

Divers at the scene. Photo by Kelli O'Hara.

Updated Sunday a.m. with latest State Police info.

State Police report a driver from North Smithfield, RI ran a red light at Leverett Circle, sideswiped a car, then crashed through a fence and into the Charles River, killing himself and his passenger.

State Police say Brian Arcand's pickup was completely under the water when first responders arrived to the scene under the Green Line viaduct across from the State Police barracks around 6:40 p.m.

The Boston Fire Department reports Boston EMS transported both occupants - a man and a woman - to nearby Mass. General, where State Police report they were pronounced dead.

The department reports the pickup was lying on the passenger side in the water when first responders arrived.

Boston firefighters broke drivers side window to rescue two occupants. Quickly taken 30' to shore via R1 zodiac & MSP boat.

State Police say the occupants of the sideswiped car were not injured.

Where the guardrail used to be (Photo by BFD):

Missing guardrail

The pickup being winched out of the water around 8:30 p.m. (Photo by Bluestate1984):

Pickup out of the water

After the occupants were rescued (Photo by BFD):

Charles River rescue work
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Comments

Here is the guard rail that is now broken.

Very sad that this claimed two lives. I wouldn't be as baffled it if happened on the other side, where people have trouble figuring out which lane that they should be in as they approach the circle.

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maybe a botched U-turn, given the comment below?

Maybe an out-of-towner confused in the dark? Can't tell if it's MA plates from the photo, but it does look like the truck would have a pretty wide turning radius.

Sad indeed, whatever the cause.

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Lots of people do the stuff in cars and pass out, most while parked, but not always. When they are having an OD and drowning, its even harder to revive them.

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Could also be something less exotic like plain old drinking or texting. Could also be a freak accident.

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Of all the theories, you assume the driver (and presumably the passenger) ingested heroin before this accident. As if most addicts like to drive immediately after getting high.

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If Markk had suggested, "maybe the guy was drunk," no one would be calling him weird or illogical. Considering that right now the whole region is suffering from a crisis of opioid addiction and its consequences, the idea that someone could've been intoxicated on a different substance doesn't seem that illogical.

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More than likely injected, not ingested.

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When you hear hoofbeats, do you think of Zebras?

Might be better to put your money on alcohol.

Bear in mind that perfectly sober people run red lights while driving vehicles pretty much constantly in the region, and without seatbelts on that drop could be fatal.

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Nationwide, drug overdose deaths somewhat exceed road deaths, but in Massachusetts, its now by over a factor of four. So, its like having more herds of wild zebras than wild horses around here.

People behave differently on alcohol than opiates. Drunk drivers sometimes speed. Ones on weed or opiates also lose attentiveness and coordination, and tend to go slower

But, who knows? The driver may have simply experienced a legitimate "medical condition" (from a lifetime of too much driving and not enough bicycling).

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Based on the latest State Police missive on the case, he was just your basic Masshole/RI driver. Sadly, whatever the reason, both he and his passenger have paid the ultimate price.

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I take the turn from Nashua onto O'brien every evening, and I've almost been hit by people running the light coming from Storrow or Leverrett many times despite the state trooper directing traffic.

It's gotten to the point were if I'm first in line, I pause for a beat after I get a green because well over half the time there us still cross traffic flying through trying to beat a yellow.

Please folks: if the light is yellow, just stop before the intersection. Don't try to gun it to get through.

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Green light means "wait a second, look both ways, look again, then go."

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How sad that they need to station a cop at intersections around this city to get people to drive correctly. How pathetic that it still doesn't get drivers to stop being maniacs.

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I was right there when this happend and the truck came from the left lane and drove straight through the gate in to the pond , it wasn't speeding neither was there any accidents and if there was why would he take a left turn ? Also every one that was behind the truck went right behind him after to check on him so im really confused has to why it says a crash caused this

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Here's the exact passage from State Police press release on the incident:

Preliminary information collected in the investigation by Trooper Edward Hunter indicates that there was a collision between two vehicles in the area of the Leverett Circle, resulting in one of the vehicles entering the water on the east side of the northbound travel lanes of Route 28.

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Please see the original post for the latest from State Police.

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Pond? Gate? Him?
River. Guardrail. Them.

"...went right behind him after to check on him..."
They were submerged inside the truck in the water; find it hard to believe witnesses went to 'check on him'.

Doubting you witnessed anything.

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You've got to be kidding me. I would have pulled over and grabbed the straps I use to tie my kayaks to the roof rack - they are each 20 feet long, and there are three of them. Could be used for something to hang onto if they could get out of the truck.

It isn't unusual for people to have things handy which could help or to want to help, either. Sounds like it was futile, but it isn't always.

It does look like a pond there - you have to be familiar with the river to know that it is a river. Just because our witness isn't articulate or familiar with the specific geography and hydrology of the area doesn't mean that they didn't see what they saw or didn't attempt to help.

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Yes exactly, first thing that came to mind was suicidal, because really my light just turned green and here comes this big truck not even speeding and turns left, nothing looked like a crash to me, and I agree there were so many people even polices just starring not one jumped in, I was freaked out it was something scary to feel help less.

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These railings may be quaint and historical and all, but how about ones that save lives?

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This is the first time I have ever heard of an accident there resulting in a vehicle going into the river.

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plus with the size of that truck, it might have jumped the kind of study barriers you see on other elevated roadways if it hit the curb with any speed.

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A freak accident that has never happened before and it's still not clear how it even happened, but some people want to Monday morning qb everything. Obviously the fault is ours for not placing stronger barriers there.

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From MY point of view I just seen the truck turn left and crashed right into the rails, how ever I can't speak on what happend to cause this. Just stating what I seen which I was driving towards this car thank god I dint get dragged along, but any who the big picture is two people lost their lives, may they rest in peace . Worst thing I've witnessed and all we can do was watch

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So as a heads up, submerged vehicles quickly turn into a deadly situation for two primary reasons.

The first is the pressure differential between the interior of the car and the exterior of the car (which is now submerged in water). This is very difficult to overcome quickly. The typical recommendation is -- while the electrics still actually work -- is to roll down the windows. Yes, this allows water in much more quickly, but it also allows the pressure to equalize much more quickly. Granted, the occupants are likely panicking, so taking this course of action may not occur. If they are sufficiently injured or knocked unconscious, this obviously can't occur at all.

The second is vehicle safety glass is unbelievably tough (and even glass is tougher than you think). Newer vehicles are even worse, as some now have laminated side glass to further reduce wind noise. You're not kicking this stuff out. Unless you have a LifeHammer (or another object that can easily focus sufficient force to a specific point, typically against the the outer frame of the window) you're not breaking the glass unless you are VERY, VERY strong.

Very sad situation, but figured it's worth bringing this up at this time in the event a reader were to ever find themselves in a similar situation.

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It makes it more likely that you will survive the plunge and be aware and uninjured enough to get out of the vehicle.

My brother in law had what could be termed a classic New Hampshire wreck: he swerved to avoid a moose, hit a patch of ice at the road side, and plunged into a lake. He got out by kicking out the windshield.

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The moose will be totaled, your car will be totaled, and you'll be very lucky if you're not totaled.

Your BiL did the right thing, even with going into the lake as a consequence.

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Kicking out a windshield is increasingly unlikely in newer vehicles, especially in the case that it (and the surrounding windshield frame) are undamaged before submersion. Nowadays they are structural members and their strength is integral for passing rollover tests and roof crush tests.

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Although that is how he got out. It may have been damaged in the crash, too.

I have one of those hammers. I got it about ten years ago when I got my first car with power windows. Anti-lock brakes were a learning experience for me, too.

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The LifeHammer is such a neat little gadget, but I would imagine that a typical person in such a scenario is likely so overwhelmed with panic that employing it would be a challenge--even if they had it stored in the dash.

What an awful situation all around.

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Guy allegedly ran a red light at Leverett Circle, sideswiped a car, crashed into the river.

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They weren't rescued; they died. That's usually called a body recovery, but since they weren't declared dead until they got to the hospital, it might be premature to call the extraction that.

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I just saw some news video of the vehicle being lifted out of the water. The two front wheels were not pointing the same way. The driver's wheel appeared to be turned full lock to the side while the passenger side looked straight. The failure of the steering on one of the front wheels could explain the crash and sharp turn off the bridge, even if combined with application of the brakes. The vehicle could also have been damaged in the extraction from the water.

The victims were reported to have been girlfriend and boyfriend and celebrating a birthday, and the man is survived by a teen son.

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The red-light running.

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to explain their running of red lights.

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Just when I thought you could engage in intelligent discussion.

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The temptation was just too much.

But seriously, I did put forward the mechanical failure possibility because it is real and its unfair to blame the victims when the crash may not be their fault.

The driver may have tried braking and learned that it caused the wheel to turn, so decided against it, until again at the end.

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Same percentages, or within statistical significance.

Guess which ones kill more people doing so?

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