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Norfolk DA Morrissey crossed center line before car crash

MILTON — Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey’s vehicle crossed into the opposite lane and collided with two other vehicles in an accident here on Tuesday that left four people injured, including the prosecutor and a child, authorities said.

The disclosure by officials on Wednesday was one of the details that began to emerge about the crash that sent all four of the injured occupants to area hospitals.

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Milton Deputy Police Chief John E. King said in a statement that Morrissey, of Quincy, was driving home from his Canton office when his vehicle crossed the traffic divider lines on Centre Street shortly before 6 p.m.

“For some unknown reason, he crossed the double yellow lines and collided with two other vehicles in the westbound lane,” King said. “A fourth vehicle swerved to avoid the collision and went off the roadway. Four individuals were transported to area hospitals.”

King said two drivers were cited for motor vehicle infractions, but he refused to elaborate.

“I do not comment on the identities or charges of individuals who have a right to be heard on those citations in court first,” King said.

Although the crash involved one of the state’s district attorneys, authorities and officials did not release information on what hospital Morrissey was taken to, who was cited in the accident, the exact nature of the injuries, and the identification of the others hurt.

King did say there was no indication that alcohol, texting, or other cellphone use were factors in the accident. He added that the incident report was not available on Wednesday, though he did not say why.

Jeffrey Pyle, a partner at the Boston law firm of Prince Lobel Tye LLP, who specializes in First Amendment and media law, said that while police incident reports are presumed public under state law, departments often cite an exemption that allows them to withhold reports if releasing them would prejudice an ongoing investigation.

“Based on what you’re telling me, I cannot think of a proper legal justification for them to withhold those records,” Pyle said.

Milton Deputy Fire Chief John Foley said the other injured parties were two adults and a child but he did not have their names or ages.

Those three people were treated and released at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Milton on Tuesday night, and Morrissey was taken to an undisclosed hospital for treatment, officials said.

His wife, Joanne, said in a brief phone interview Wednesday evening that Morrissey had been released from the hospital and had returned home. She said he was sleeping when a reporter called and that she was not sure if police had cited him.

“Given his position and his desire to reassure the community, he requested alcohol testing,” she said in a separate, written statement. “As he fully expected, the test confirmed that no alcohol was present in his system. Further, witnesses at the scene have indicated that speed was not a factor.”

Joanne Morrissey added, “we remain concerned about the health and well-being of my husband and the other parties involved in the accident.”

David Traub, Morrissey’s spokesman, would not discuss the crash on Wednesday, referring questions to Milton police.

According to Milton Fire records, the crash took place in the 300 block of Centre Street. Arriving firefighters saw a total of four vehicles involved, one of which had rolled over.

The Fire Department summary of the incident states that one of the injured was so seriously hurt that a Milton firefighter had to drive the Fallon ambulance to the Boston Medical Center so the two paramedics on board could devote their full attention to the patient.

Foley said department records do not indicate who that patient was and that firefighters do not usually take the names of patients, citing federal medical privacy laws.

Skid marks were visible Wednesday at the scene of the crash, a sometimes busy roadway near Milton Academy.

One neighbor who declined to give her name said she heard a loud noise at the time of the accident and later saw a small sedan being towed away from the scene.

According to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, Morrissey has no prior accidents or citations on his record.

The Democrat was elected district attorney in 2010 and previously served in the state Legislature.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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