Metro

Driver in Billerica auction crash had suspended license

This still image from video provided by NBC Boston shows wreckage after a vehicle suddenly accelerated at an auto auction and struck several people before it crashed through a wall of the building, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, in Billerica, Mass. (NBC Boston via AP)
NBC Boston via the Associated Press
This still image from video provided by NBC Boston shows wreckage after the Billerica crash.

The employee who struck and killed three people at a Billerica auto auction Wednesday was driving with a suspended license, the Lynnway Auto Auction said Friday.

“We were unaware of the change in status of the driver’s license until the police told us after the accident,” said Jim Lamb, the company’s president. “When we hired him in 2010, he had a valid Massachusetts driver’s license.”

The Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office has not identified the driver, a longtime auction employee in his 70s. During the company’s weekly auction, the Jeep Grand Cherokee suddenly accelerated into a crowd of people before crashing into a cinderblock wall.

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Police informed the company about the driver’s suspended license, company officials said. Lamb said the company was “surprised and upset” to learn of the development. Lamb did not say why the driver’s license was suspended.

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“We hold our drivers to a high standard,” he said. “If a driver loses the ability to drive in Massachusetts for any reason, we would expect them to inform us and we would not allow them to drive on our property unless they hold a valid driver’s license.”

On Thursday, officials identified the three people who died — Brenda Lopez, 48, and Pantaleon Santos, 49, both of Rhode Island, and Leezandra Aponte, 36, of Lowell.

Nicole Dungca can be reached at nicole.dungca@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ndungca.