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Fatal Apple Store crash that injured 19 felt like ‘explosion’ from inside

The vehicle that crashed into an Apple Store at Derby Street Shops was towed away.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

HINGHAM — The car outside the Apple Store seemed like it was going 60 miles per hour, one witness told police. Then, suddenly, an explosion. A crash. A construction worker moving a barrier outside the store turned to his co-worker.

The co-worker, later identified as 65-year-old New Jersey resident Kevin Bradley, was on the ground, no longer breathing.

A black Toyota 4Runner had careened over the curb, through the wall of glass and the retail section, before becoming lodged against the back wall. People screamed and fled. Employees administered first aid. A day of shopping just ahead of the holiday season dissolved into terror.

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In all, at least 19 would be injured by the crash, which left a gaping, jagged hole in the front of the store. Bradley was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, 53-year-old Bradley Rein, told authorities his foot had gotten stuck on the accelerator and his attempts to hit the brakes were futile, according to a police report.

Rein was arraigned in Hingham District Court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to a charge of reckless homicide by motor vehicle. Judge Heather Bradley ordered him held on $100,000 bail.

Rein told investigators he couldn’t stop the car. He had been driving through Derby Street Shops in search of a store to replace a lens in his eyeglasses, he told police.

“Mr. Rein stated everything happened fast,” the police report stated. “Mr. Rein stated his foot had got stuck on the accelerator once in the past while he was driving on the highway. At the time of the crash Mr. Rein was wearing Brooks running sneakers.”

A lawyer assigned to represent Rein at the arraignment described the crash as an “unfortunate accident.” Rein, who lives in Hingham, has no previous criminal record besides a drunk driving arrest in Vermont that was expunged, the lawyer said.

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Bradley Rein was led out of Hingham District Court after his arraignment.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

After the arraignment, Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz declined to comment on Rein’s assertion that the crash was an accident and said the investigation is ongoing.

“This matter is incredibly serious,” Cruz said. “We have one [victim who died], we have numerous people that were hurt.” Prosecutors will do “whatever it takes to hold the right people accountable for their actions.”

Asked if the people injured in the crash are expected to live, Cruz said, “I certainly hope so.”

On Tuesday, South Shore Hospital in Weymouth said it had treated 18 people from the crash, eight of whom remain hospitalized, including two in critical care. Dr. Jason Tracy, chief of emergency medicine at the hospital, said Tuesday afternoon that all the remaining patients are expected to survive.

“The injuries . . . range from pretty significant head injuries to many orthopedic injuries including arms and legs,” Tracy said. “Lots and lots of fractures, chest trauma. Lots of pulmonary injuries. And so there’s a long road to recovery for many of the patients who are in our facility.”

At least five patients who were initially treated at South Shore Hospital were transferred to Boston hospitals.

Rein was cooperative with authorities, according to the police report. When told that officers would bring him back to the station, Rein replied “whatever you need me to do,” the report said, and he gave police his cellphone voluntarily for investigation and agreed to a blood test.

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Rein told police he had no medical issues that would impair his ability to drive, had no mechanical issues with his SUV, and hadn’t consumed any alcohol or drugs that morning, the report said. He agreed to a breath test, which corroborated his account, police said.

Rein said he’d been looking for jobs earlier Monday before the crash and had checked his e-mail at home to see if he’d received any replies, before leaving for the Derby Street Shops. After going to one store that couldn’t help him, he went back to his car and began to look for a second eyewear store.

While driving near a Barnes & Noble, Rein said “his right foot became stuck on the accelerator and his vehicle accelerated. Mr. Rein stated he used his left foot to try to brake but was unable to stop,” and the SUV crashed, according to the report.

Workers removed the heavy glass wall at the front of the Apple Store at the Derby Street Shops.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Asked why he was seen on surveillance video driving “throughout” the parking lot before the crash, Rein told police he had only visited the complex once before and wasn’t familiar with the layout.

Surveillance video showed the SUV traveling at “a consistent high rate of speed” into the store, although police did not specify how fast. “Several of the victims who were able to speak to investigators stated that [the] crash scene was reminiscent of an explosion with glass and carnage throughout the scene,” the report said.

Rein’s next court date is slated for Dec. 22.

Outside the Apple Store Tuesday, workers stood on an elevated platform and removed panes of shattered glass from the facade of the business as holiday music played in the background. In the parking lot, three bouquets of colorful flowers had been placed on the ground, leaning against a tree along with a handwritten note that said, “Sending all of our peace and love. — The Levitate Family.”

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Deb and Rob Adams traveled from Cape Cod for an appointment in Boston and stopped by Derby Street to eat at Cava. They briefly paused in front of the Apple Store as the workers removed broken glass.

“It’s just horrible that this could happen, that somebody could be this reckless,” she said. “It’s a very scary world we live in.”

Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22. Hanna Krueger can be reached at hanna.krueger@globe.com. Follow her @hannaskrueger.