EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 29, 2011

Police: Man killed in I-93 rollover was speeding

ANDOVER — State police said speed was likely to blame for the fatal rollover accident that killed a Wilmington man on Interstate 93 near Route 133 early yesterday morning.

Thomas Brennan, 44, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which was reported to police at 1:15 a.m. on I-93 South, just north of the Route 133 exit.

According to police, Brennan drove a 1995 Cadillac DeVille into the rear of a U.S. Postal Service tractor-trailer after twice changing lanes.

Brennan was thrown into a snowbank next to the breakdown lane. The Cadillac came to rest on its roof, straddling the right lane and the breakdown lane, police said.

"We have a witness who was in a vehicle ahead of him," said state police Spokesman David Procopio. "Based on the witness statement and trooper observations he (was) going well above the speed limit."

Procopio said any official conclusions will be determined from a detailed accident report compiled by the state police collision reconstruction team.

A preliminary investigation by Trooper John Ragosa indicates that Brennan was traveling in the left lane of the highway at a high rate of speed when he changed lanes to pass a vehicle.

Brennan continued through the center lane and entered the right lane, where he then drove into the rear of a tractor-trailer before rolling over, according to police.

State troopers from the Andover barracks responded to the crash.

Brennan was the lone occupant of the Cadillac. Procopio said the vehicle was left with significant front-end damage. Procopio said it's unclear whether Brennan was wearing a seat belt.

The crash is being investigated by Troop A of the Massachusetts state police. The right lane and breakdown lane of the highway were closed for 2 1/2 hours after the accident.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 59-year-old man from Manchester, N.H., maintained control of his 2002 Freightliner F12 and escaped injury, police said.

"Based on what we know now, it does not appear there will be charges filed," said Procopio.

State police said the tractor-trailer was carrying mail. Postal service police responded to the scene and took possession of the mail cargo. The tractor-trailer was towed from the scene.

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