Metro

Crash in Newton leads five public and private schools to shelter in place

Five Newton schools were advised to shelter in place Friday as police searched for three people who fled from the scene of a car crash, officials said.

Newton Police Lieutenant Bruce Apotheker said three public and two private schools were told to shelter in place “as a precaution.” After searching the area for about three hours, the search was called off and the schools returned to normal, said Apotheker, a department spokesman.

The search began after a vehicle crashed into the guardrail of the Massachusetts Turnpike off-ramp for Route 16 around 8 a.m, Apotheker said. Three people — two men and a woman — got out of the car and fled from the scene toward West Newton.

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Newton police were assisted by State Police, who brought in a helicopter and police dogs to assist, according to their Twitter feed.

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“We never had any information that those people . . . were dangerous, but we thought it was a prudent thing to do,” Apotheker said of the shelter-in-place measure.

Newton School Superintendent David Fleishman sent a message to parents alerting them of the precaution.

“A shelter-in-place means that regular activities continue inside the school but students and staff do not go outside,” Fleishman said in the letter. “Please know that all students are safe.’’

The investigation is ongoing, police said.

Laney Ruckstuhl can be reached at laney.ruckstuhl@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @laneyruckstuhl.