The Latest: Art teacher killed in manhole cover accident

AP News
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Posted: Feb 12, 2016 7:04 PM

BOSTON (AP) — The Latest on the death of a woman whose vehicle was struck by a manhole cover on a Boston highway (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

A women killed by a manhole cover that apparently flew loose on a busy Boston highway has been identified as an art teacher at a Boston-area elementary school.

Glover Elementary School Principal Sheila Kukstis says Caitlin Clavette had been on her way to work Friday to the school in Milton when she was killed.

Kukstis says Clavette had been an art teacher at the school since 2011. She describes her Clavette as a "talented and valued member" of the faculty.

The school will be open Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon for parents who need guidance on how to talk to their children about the accident.

The district says Clavette was a graduate of Winchester High School, earned her bachelor's degree from College of William and Mary in Virginia and her masters from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

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3:50 p.m.

Massachusetts State Police say they're examining the manhole cover that apparently flew loose on a busy Boston highway Friday morning, killing a woman.

Police say they'll try to determine if the cover has "excessive wear, deformation, or any other characteristics" that could have contributed to it becoming airborne.

The department said it does not expect to release by Friday the name of the victim since it typically waits a certain period of time after notifying family members to release the name publicly.

The department also said it won't be releasing surveillance camera footage from the area of the accident as well as the multiple 911 calls of the incident at this time because they're part of the ongoing investigation.

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3:30 p.m.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is calling the death of a motorist whose car was struck by a flying manhole cover on a Boston highway an "incredibly bizarre" tragedy.

Baker told reporters Friday that crews are now checking about 500 manhole covers, grates and utility panels on area highways to determine if any others were loose.

The woman was driving on Interstate 93 shortly before 8 a.m. when the manhole cover crashed through the windshield of her vehicle. The cover weighed more than 200 pounds.

Baker says it's too early to speculate on how it happened.

In 2007, a Massachusetts man was seriously injured when a storm drain grate flew off and struck his car on Route 128.

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12:30 p.m.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation workers are checking manhole covers, grates and utility panels in the travel lanes of highways around the Boston area after a woman was killed by a flying manhole cover Friday morning.

Highway Administrator Thomas Tinlin said the move is being made "out of an abundance of caution."

He says if crews discover unsecured hardware, it will be welded into place.

The woman was killed at about 7:50 a.m. Friday when the manhole cover in the left lane of Interstate 93 south became dislodged and went airborne, crashing through the woman's windshield.

Tinlin says such manhole covers weigh more than 200 pounds. It covers a storm drainage system and was last inspected in June 2014. He says there is no indication the cover has been removed recently.

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10:30 a.m.

Massachusetts State Police say a manhole cover crashed through a windshield on a major Boston highway during the morning commute, killing a driver.

Spokesman David Procopio says the manhole cover in the left lane of Interstate 93 south became dislodged and went airborne at about 7:50 a.m. Friday.

After the manhole cover struck the woman's windshield, her vehicle continued forward before striking a wall on the left shoulder of the highway and coming to a stop.

It's unclear what caused the manhole cover to become dislodged. Two lanes of the highway were shut down during the investigation, backing up traffic.

The victim's name is being withheld until her family can be notified.