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April 16, 2013

GPD pins Essex Avenue fatality on truck

The Gloucester Police Department report on the May 31, 2012 crash that claimed the life of a local motorcyclist has pinned the cause of the crash was the fact that a Dumpster truck “was in the breakdown lane” of Essex Avenue just as a UPS delivery truck was entering from a side street.

According to the city police report, the the position of the Dumpster truck prevented rider Stephen Bennett from seeing the UPS truck, “and slammed into the side of the truck,” killing him.

The only Gloucester police citation for the fatal accident, which is the subject of lawsuit in U.S. District Court by Bennett’s family and estate, was a “marked lane violation” written against Barbara Cox, the driver of the Coxco Dumpster.

Efforts Monday to reach Cox, of 7 Diamond Ave., were unsuccessful. Cox and her insurance carrier, Arbella, declined comment when reached in January for a previous story.

The Gloucester Police report stands in conflict with the report on the accident by the Massachusetts State Police reconstruction team and released in December by the Office of Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. That report concluded that Bennett was solely responsible for the collision that killed him, even though it also noted that Cox had been cited by the Gloucester Police for a “lane violation.”

Attorney Joseph Orlando, representing the Bennetts, provided the Times with a copy of the Gloucester Police report written by Patrolman William Cahill, who responded to the accident with two colleagues.

In his handwritten “Motor Vehicle Crash Police Report,” Cahill included made a diagram of the accident that put the Coxco truck entirely in the breakdown lane as it prepared and executed a right turn off Essex Avenue onto Fernwood Lake Avenue just as the UPS truck was preparing and crossing the single eastbound lane of Essex Avenue (Route 133) to turn left and westbound.

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