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Passenger killed in Athol crash named

ATHOL — Officials have identified the 68-year-old victim of a fatal four-vehicle crash on Route 2 Thursday.

Carole Lawton, 68, of Arlington, died after the Toyota Prius she rode in crashed into a tractor-trailer head on, according to Mary Carey, spokeswoman for the Northwestern District Attorneys Office.

Her husband, David Lawton, who drove, was taken to the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester by helicopter ambulance.

A 23-year-old woman driving a Hyundai Accent caused the accident, said Carey.

Driving in the breakdown lane, the woman passed several cars before merging back into the eastbound travel lane and striking Lawton’s Prius, Carey said. The Prius was pushed across the center line into the path of a Ford Transit van. The van’s driver swerved and the vehicles side-swiped each other, then a westbound tractor-trailer collided with the Prius, said Carey.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken to Athol Memorial Hospital and later released, said Carey. She said the van’s driver did not need medical treatment.

The operator of the Hyundai was also taken to Athol Memorial Hospital and later released, according to Carey.

State police from the Athol barracks, the district attorney’s office and the state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section responded. Carey said the accident remains under investigation, and no charges had been filed Friday afternoon.

The accident happened at about 3 p.m. near exit 17, and Route 2 was closed until 7:45 p.m. as police investigated.

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