Lobster Truck Hits Bridge, Catches Fire, Delays Commuter Rail Trains

It doesn’t get more New England than that.

Image via Westwood Police

Image via Westwood Police

Riders were in a pinch Tuesday morning after a truck carrying 7,000 pounds of live lobster crashed into a bridge in Westwood, caught fire, and caused significant delays on the Commuter Rail.

According to Westwood Police officers, around 4:50 a.m. on Tuesday, the freightliner, which was registered to Ryder Rental Corporation and being operated by a driver from Portland, Maine, slammed into the East Street Railroad Bridge that carries the Franklin Line Commuter Rail trains along the tracks.

Police said the 13-foot truck was unable to clear the overpass, which is just over 10-and-a-half feet tall. “As a result of impact, a small fire started in the air-conditioner compressor that is positioned near the roof of the truck,” police said in a statement.

The fire was quickly extinguished, and there were no reported injuries, but the collision caused significant delays on the Commuter Rail, and shut down East Street. Police said 7,000 pounds of lobster, which was inside the refrigerated vehicle, had to be “condemned.”

“They have to toss all of the lobster. Once they condemn it, it can’t be sold,” said Westwood Police Lt. Leo Hoban. “That’s a lot of lobster.”

Hoban said around 8 a.m., crews from the town’s Department of Public Works were on scene with a front-end loader cleaning up the crates of lobster. A photo taken from the scene shows the crustaceans sprawled all over cardboard boxes, after they came out of the carrying crates they were traveling in inside of the truck.

Hoban said as of 8 a.m. they didn’t know what the final destination of the truck was, because “the truck driver refused to tell officers where he was going with the 7,000 pounds of lobster.”

When asked if responding to a crash scene where lobsters were on the road was odd, Hoban said it’s not the strangest thing he has seen—and it’s certainly not the first time a truck has crashed into this particular bridge.

On Monday, a truck carrying glass slammed into the East Street Bridge. Hoban said last year, an ice cream truck also collided with the bridge, sending ice cream flying all over the roadway. In 1987, when Hoban first started working for the Westwood Police Department, he said a sardine truck hit the bridge, and it left fish all over the road, leading to a foul smell that disrupted the neighbors.

“Hopefully we wont have an odor issue going forward this time,” he said. “Our key thing is to get [all of the lobster] off the road. But I don’t know what they have done with it.”