A local news item shows how tragedy is not an abstract concept – something that happens to “other people,” but not to “us.”

Right next door to our law offices here in Westwood, Massachusetts is the town of Norwood: A nice, fairly peaceful community, not known for tragic events. Until last night. Two people from nearby Wrentham were killed last night in an automobile rollover accident in Norwood, on Interstate 95, which borders and at some points runs through the town. At about 10:30 PM, state troopers in the nearby Foxborough Barracks received calls about the accident, and responded immediately along with members of the Norwood Police and Fire Departments. Officers found a single-vehicle rollover crash, and discovered that the two occupants of the vehicle, Jerome Blomquist, age 59, and Joan Pupi, 60, non-responsive. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene, according to a press release from the Massachusetts State Police. The fatal accident occurred on the southbound side of Interstate 95 in Norwood, according to police reports. Mr. Blomquist and Ms. Pupi were traveling in a 1998 Ford Explorer that for reasons not yet know, crashed and rolled over several times just north of Exit 11B, leading to the famous “Automile” in Norwood, according to the police statement issued.

What caused this motor vehicle accident? While in theory, anything could have caused it, the practical reality is that the likely reasons aren’t that many. As a Boston, Massachusetts automobile rollover accident lawyer, I’ve seen, unfortunately, too many of these motor vehicle rollover accidents. The usual suspects in these accidents? 1) Sudden loss of control of the vehicle. This could be caused by distracted driving and smart phone use while driving; 2) A sudden medical event impacting the driver, such as a heart attack or stroke; 3) It may be that another vehicle cut the victim off suddenly, usually by changing lanes in an irresponsible and dangerous manner. Skid marks and/or witnesses would provide more information about this possibility; 4) Or, it could be something as commonplace as a sudden sneeze, which took the driver’s attention off the road for a split second. Obviously, police will not know exactly what happened here until a full accident reconstruction report is complete, which will include autopsy reports on the victims.

Obviously, neither I nor anyone knows what caused this Massachusetts rollover accident. But as a Norwood MA car accident lawyer, I can say this: Aside from a sudden medical event impacting the driver, two possibilities from the above list stand out as being very high: 1) Irresponsible & aggressive driving. The shockingly inconsiderate and dangerous manner in which a great many Massachusetts drivers conduct themselves, is one thing that this state is famous for. So much so, that the term “Massholes” was long ago coined to describe Massachusetts drivers. If you doubt that, spend 60 minutes on Route 128, 495, or Interstate 95 where this fatal accident occurred. 2) Distracted driving. The number of drivers who engage in smart phone use while driving or texting while driving is stunningly high. Again, if you doubt that, take a spin on just about any road, inside or outside Massachusetts.

Again, I’m not saying either of these reasons was definitively involved here. But sadly, it wouldn’t surprise me. The lesson from this tragedy: Never, ever take your eyes off the road.

My sympathies to the families of these two car accident victims.