Published in the December 17, 2015 edition

THE ACCIDENT SCENE at 17 Elm St., Route 62, last Friday morning. (North Reading Police Photo)

THE ACCIDENT SCENE at 17 Elm St., Route 62, last Friday morning. (North Reading Police Photo)


NORTH READING — An early morning crash on Elm St. last Friday morning, Dec. 11, took the life of a Wilmington woman and closed down Route 62 to traffic at the height of the morning rush hour.

The accident is under investigation by the North Reading Police and State Police.

At 6 a.m. on Dec. 11, police received a 911 call from the homeowner of 17 Elm St. who reported that an automobile had crashed into their house.

Police and Fire responded to the scene and found that a Honda sedan had crashed into the left corner of the home, causing significant damage.

The driver of the car, Erin Beal, 39, of Wilmington, was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman was the sole occupant of the car and was found in the front passenger’s seat by the first responders.

Police said a preliminary investigation indicates the car crossed the double yellow line just past Judith Drive while headed eastbound on Route 62, toward Middleton. She then veered off the roadway, struck a curb and then a tree before careening into the house.

The home is owned by the Griswold family and three people were at home at the time of the crash, but no one was injured. The home is listed on the town’s inventory of historic properties as the Benjamin Upton House, built in 1781.

The Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section also responded to assist with the investigation as well as the Office of the State Medical Examiner.

Route 62 was closed in both directions from the time of the accident until 9 a.m. during the initial investigation and recovery efforts.

The town’s building inspector and electrical inspector were on the scene to determine if the home was safe to re–enter and a board–up company arrived a few hours later to clear the damage. North Reading police remained on the scene until 9:37 a.m.

Conditions at the time of the accident were marked by very heavy fog and the road, while winding, is clearly marked. Police are investigating whether the weather played a part in the crash. The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office is also investigating the accident as an unattended death.

“This is a very sad situation where a life was lost suddenly and unexpectedly,” Chief Michael Murphy said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family during this difficult time.”