HINGHAM — One man died and at least 19 other people were treated for injuries after an SUV crashed into a busy Apple Store in a shopping plaza mid-morning on Monday, officials said, in what the county’s top law enforcement officer called an “absolutely unthinkable” tragedy.
Bradley Rein, 53, of Hingham, was arrested Monday night and charged with reckless homicide by motor vehicle.
Around 10:45 a.m., the black Toyota 4Runner careened through the store’s plate-glass window and struck multiple people, said Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz. Cruz didn’t say how fast the car was going when it hit the building.
“This morning was an unthinkable morning and people are trying to get through it and process what happened,” Cruz said at the scene.
Authorities identified the man who was killed as Kevin Bradley, 65, a resident of New Jersey. In a statement, an Apple spokesperson said Bradley was helping with construction at the store.
“We are devastated by the shocking events at Apple Derby Street today and the tragic loss of a professional who was onsite supporting recent construction at the store,” the spokesperson said. “Our hearts go out to our team members and customers who were injured and all of those who were affected by this terrible incident.”
It was unclear Monday evening just how many people had been injured in the crash. Officials at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth said they were treating 17 people and had transported two to Boston. Brigham and Women’s Hospital said it was treating two patients who had been brought to Boston by EMS from South Shore Hospital. Meanwhile, Boston Medical Center said three patients were taken to that hospital as well.
“We have multiple patients with life-threatening and limb-threatening injuries,” said Dr. Christopher Burns of South Shore Hospital.
The car’s driver spoke with police after the crash, which is under investigation.
“This is a terrible event,” Cruz said. “It’s a terrible day, and we want to get to the bottom of it.”
The store is tucked in a corner of the sprawling shopping center just off Route 3. As the only Apple Store in the area, it is often crowded with customers from the across the South Shore.
Daniel Meehan was rummaging through his unit at a storage facility behind the store when he heard a loud crash. He saw people streaming out of the back of the store, “obviously upset and hugging each other,” and drove around to the front to see if he could help, he said.
Looking through an archway of jagged, broken glass, he saw an SUV lodged in the back of the store and an officer administering CPR to a person on the ground.
“Overwhelmed, I stopped,” he told the Globe. “The other police were screaming [at me] to leave. Said a prayer and got out of the way. I drove around back of store crying. I felt so horrible and helpless.”
First responders came upon a harrowing scene, said Hingham Police Chief David P. Jones. Apple Store employees and other bystanders rendered first care to multiple victims. Seven ambulances came to the scene. Fire crews evaluated the building’s structural stability. The neighboring Burton’s Bar and Grill became an ad-hoc crisis center.
An employee of the nearby Nic+Zoe clothing store said she narrowly missed being in the SUV’s path.
“We had just walked by the Apple Store to go get our coffee and we decided to stop for a minute. We could’ve been walking back by ...” a woman named Anne said, her voice breaking. “So my heart goes out to all the employees of Apple and all the customers who were in that store, because nobody should be dealing with this this holiday week.”
“I really just want to go home and call my husband and call my kids and tell them I love them,” she said.
A tearful David Sheehan, who lives in Weymouth, said he left the Apple Store just five minutes before the crash.
”I came out, went to the gym, and I looked up at the television, and there it was,” he said at the scene later. “I was very fortunate. I wanted to come back and say a prayer for the people that were in there.”
Just before 4 p.m., the SUV was towed away, its airbags deployed and its hood smashed in.
Hingham officials said the community “expresses its deepest condolences and support to those affected by this tragedy.”
“We recognize that in the aftermath of today’s events there are persons in need of healing, both physically and emotionally,” officials said in a statement. “As with others who have suffered loss or injury in recent times, the town will help guide those who reach out for assistance. None of us is alone. We are a united town.”
Travis Andersen of the Globe staff and correspondent Breanne Kovatch contributed to this report.
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