By Patriot Ledger Staff
HINGHAM − A man has died and 16 people were injured Monday after a black SUV crashed into the Apple store in the Derby Street shopping center. Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz said there is an “active criminal investigation” into the crash.
It was about 10:45 a.m. Monday when the SUV, a Toyota 4Runner, crashed into the glass-plated storefront and “struck multiple people,” Cruz said. The SUV reached the back wall and trapped several people inside. One person died, 14 others were taken to South Shore Hospital and two were taken to Boston-area hospitals. A medical helicopter also responded.
“Right now, family members are being notified or in the process of being notified,” Cruz told members of the media at 1:20 p.m. “This morning was an unthinkable morning, and people are trying to process what happened. … This investigation is active and ongoing, and we are very limited as to what we can say at this point.”
Steve Murphy, the Hingham fire chief, said bystanders provided first aid to help the injured. A total of 14 ambulances and seven fire engines responded, including those from as far away as Cohasset and Hull.
“We are unable to provide any updates on (the victims’) condition right now, but we want to thank everyone that was involved in helping in this situation,” Murphy said.
Dr. William Tollefsen, the EMS and MIH Medical Director for South Shore Health, told reporters that several victims arrived to the Weymouth hospital with life-threatening injuries. Others experienced head trauma, lower extremity injuries and mangled limbs.
Cruz said he didn’t know how fast the SUV was going, but did say there is an “active criminal investigation.” He did not give any information on the driver other than to say he or she was not taken to a hospital.
Cruz said people were walking on the sidewalk in front of the store when the crash occurred.
“The Apple store is a very busy place,” he said. “It’s the Monday of a holiday week. I don’t know exactly how many people were in there. I’m sure we will find out. … We are going to go slow and steady with this, and get the information as we get it.”
The SUV was still inside the store as of 1:30 p.m. Monday. Murphy said the building commissioner and the Plymouth County Technical Rescue Team were at the scene and did not have concerns about the structural integrity of the building. State Police also responded.
Frank O’Brien, who was shopping at Derby Street at the time, wondered how fast a car would have to go to bust through the glass in front of the store.
“You’d have to really be picking up speed to end up in the storage area at the back side of the Apple store,” he said.
“It sounded like an explosion,” said one witness, who was shopping at J. Crew at the time of the crash.
“My wife is at Derby Street in Hingham, a black 4Runner drove full speed into the Apple store,” one man tweeted. “She said there are a lot of injuries −my wife used a spare jacket as a tourniquet.”
Another witness told WCVB, The Patriot Ledger’s media partner, that they saw the driver being pulled from the SUV with a bloodied face.
Derby Street Shops, at 92-98 Derby St. in Hingham, is a collection of 64 stores and restaurants. The 4,000-square-foot Apple store is in the rear of the outdoor shopping plaza, next to Burton’s Grill. It opened in 2006.
The two stores on either side of the Apple store were closed and taped off at noon Monday. The Apple website listed the Hingham location as “currently unavailable.”
Chrissy Ramos was shopping at Barnes and Noble a few doors away at the time of the crash.
“I came out and saw people running and a big hole in the window,” she said.
Reporters Mary Whitfill, Joel Barnes and Fred Hanson; photographer Greg Derr; and WCVB, The Patriot Ledger’s media partner, contributed to this report.