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Murray decries rumors, speculation about crash

The scene of Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray’s car crash last November.

Massachusetts State Police

The scene of Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray’s car crash last November.

Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray has written to political supporters telling them that he has been subjected to “false rumors and wild speculation’’ since he crashed his state-owned car last November while driving in excess of 100 miles per hour.

“I understand that when a public figure is in any kind of accident, people want to know how it happened,’’ Murray wrote. “Unfortunately, false rumors and wild speculation can result even when the details of the matter have been released to the public.’’

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In the letter, obtained by the Globe, Murray repeated what he told reporters last week when the State Police released the data from the vehicle’s black box, that he made a mistake when he first blamed the crash on black ice on Interstate 190 in Sterling. He said he now believes he fell asleep at the wheel.

“The accident happened in a matter of seconds. I was shaken up and, not really knowing how it occurred, I assumed the ice must have caused the accident,’’ Murray wrote, adding that he overheard emergency responders talking about icy road conditions. “In light of the black box data and police report, my assumption was incorrect. I believe I nodded off while driving and the car ran off the road.’’

Murray also wrote that he had left his Worcester home about 4:45 a.m. on Nov. 2 to inspect storm damage in the region, and because he could not sleep after his 5-year-old daughter had climbed into bed with him and his wife, Tammy.

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“I gave up trying to sleep and decided to take a drive, get a coffee and a paper, and prepare for the day,’’ he said, adding that he had often taken such drives when he was mayor of Worcester. “I did so to get a sense of the storm and power damage in the aftermath of the surprise snowstorm that had just hit much of the state.’’

He wrote that he drove to the Route 2 interchange, reversed direction, and was headed back to Worcester when he crashed. The accident totaled the 2007 Ford Crown Victoria.

“During this ride, I did not meet anyone or make any phone calls, texts, or e-mails. Also, the black box data showed that the car had been running for 42.5 minutes before the accident, which is consistent with the route I had traveled,’’ he wrote.

Murray said he did not receive any special consideration from State Police, who ticketed him for speeding and driving without a seat belt. He pointed out that the release of the black box data was done at his request.

The lieutenant governor also wrote that he hoped the crash - and the public criticism it has drawn - can be put behind him.

“This traumatic accident has been a difficult chapter, but I am thankful for the support I’ve received from so many,’’ he wrote.

Murray, a Democrat, is often talked about as a potential candidate for governor when Deval Patrick’s term expires in 2014.

Noah Bierman can be reached at John R. Ellement can be reached at
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