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Fifth victim in Lynnway Auto Auction crash dies

An investigation is ongoing.
(Metro file photo)

A fifth person has died from injuries following a crash at a Billerica auto auction earlier this month when an SUV drove into a crowd of people and crashed into a wall.

Ruben Espaillat, 55, of Methuen, died Saturday, 10 days after the May 3 crash at the Lynnway Auto Auction, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement. The crash is under active investigation by the DA, State Police and Billerica Police.

The four other victims were 36-year-old Leezandra Aponte of Lowell, 50-year-old Elliott Rowlands Jr. of Buzzards Bay, and 48-year-old Brenda Lopez and 49-year-old Pantaleon Santos, both of Rhode Island. 

The 76-year-old driver, who has not been charged, said the Jeep Cherokee he was driving was “defective” and accelerated on its own as he was driving it into the building to put on display for auction.

The driver’s license was suspended at the time of the crash, NECN reported.

Two people died at the scene of the crash, a third died at the hospital later that day and a fourth victim, Elliott Rowlands, succumbed to his injuries on May 10.

State Police said that an investigation is ongoing.

"This remains an active and ongoing investigation being conducted by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, the Billerica Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police CARS unit," the DA's office said.

State Police said they do not suspect the crash was a terrorist act.

“At this point, there is no evidence or information to suggest the incident was caused by an intentional or terrorist act. All evidence and information at this time suggests an accidental cause," police said in a May 3 statement.

The Lynnway Auto Auction is a dealer consignment auction and has been in business since 1997. It moved to its current address in Billerica in 2011, according to the company's website.