Florence man crashes pickup truck into Easthampton gas station

  • A man crashed into the F.L. Roberts gas station on Northampton St. on Monday, July 9, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/DUSTY CHRISTENSEN

  • Easthampton Police Chief Robert Alberti, left, was one of the responders to the F.L. Roberts gas station on Northampton Street in Easthampton after a pickup truck collided with the booth sometime before 8 a.m. Monday. GAZETTE STAFF/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A GMC 2500HD SLT truck collided with the booth at the F.L. Roberts gas station on Northampton Street in Easthampton sometime before 8 a.m. Monday, July 9, 2018. Photo taken about 8:20 a.m. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

Published: 7/9/2018 10:15:52 AM

EASTHAMPTON — Fred Wilcox was working behind the counter at the F. L. Roberts gas station on Monday when he heard an ominous sound.

“I heard tires squeal, I looked out the window and saw a truck heading toward me,” he said.

That was the scene Monday morning when a black GMC 2500HD SLT pickup truck slammed into the front of the F. L. Roberts station, buckling the corner of the small building and shattering glass.

Police Chief Robert Alberti said that the driver — identified as 71-year-old Maurice Alexander of Florence — pulled out of the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot across traffic, hit the curb, turned 180 degrees and came back across the road, plowing into the front of the gas station at a fairly high speed.

“We’re not sure of his condition, if this was a medical issue,” Alberti said, noting that there were no brake marks leading up to the crash — a possible sign of a medical reason for the crash.

Alexander was taken to Cooley Dickinson Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to Alberti, who did not specify what the driver’s medical condition was.

“When we got there he was semiconscious,” Easthampton Public Information Officer Chad Alexander told the Gazette later in the day.

No customers were in the store, and nobody else was injured. The city’s building inspector showed up to assess the damage, and Alberti said the company brought in a crew of workers to shore up the building before the vehicle was pulled out of the wreckage early in the afternoon.

“No customers, thank God,” Wilcox said when asked if anybody else was in the store. “I don’t think I would have been able to get them out in time.”

As for Wilcox, however, he unfortunately knew exactly what to do, as this was not a unique experience for him. When working at a Shell station on Route 5 in Northampton in the early 1990s, a driver came out of the car wash and crashed into his workplace, he said.

“I knew what to do,” Wilcox said. “It all came back to me.”

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.

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