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“State police today slapped Lt. Gov. Tim Murray with a $555 fine and cited him for speeding, crossing marked lanes and not wearing his seatbelt for his pre-dawn crash in November that clocked him driving at a high of 108 mph — probably while asleep at the wheel.”
Updated: Thursday, 05 Jan 2012, 8:40 AM EST
BOSTON (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – As just-released photos shed new light on Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray’s car crash, the state’s second-in-command is trying hard to return to normal work at the State House despite being dogged by discrepancies in his story.
PHOTOS: Lt. Gov. Murray’s car crash
After chairing a meeting of the Governor’s Council earlier today, Murray again answered questions from reporters about what happened when he drove off Interstate 190 in the pre-dawn hours of November 2.
“Are you worried about your credibility being questioned because of the inconsistencies?” asked FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet.
“Listen, this was an accident. It happened very quickly and I’ve taken responsibility for that. I don’t know what more I can say other than that I’m anxious to get back to work,” Murray replied.
Murray initially told State Police, according to the agency’s reports, that he was driving within the 65-mile-per-hour speed limit and wearing his seat belt when he skidded on black ice.
He also told reporters hours after the crash that he left his house to buy a coffee and a Boston Herald and inspect damage from the recent storm.
An inspection of the photos shows a Boston Globe, but no Herald or coffee cup in the wrecked car. After asking a Murray spokesman about the missing Herald, a Murray spokesperson now tells FOX Undercover he did not buy the coffee or Herald despite being on the road for more than 40 minutes.
Murray’s original story is also compromised by the vehicle’s black box data, released after a FOX Undercover public records request. The data shows he was far exceeding the speed limit, not wearing his seat belt, and did not skid on black ice.
Now Murray thinks he fell asleep, but he can’t say for sure. State Police said his car followed the actions of someone who was sleeping behind the wheel.
“It’s the only reasonable explanation that I have and can understand how this happened. It happened in a matter of seconds. It was something that was obviously very traumatic,” Murray said.
An accident reconstruction expert, Bruce McNally of New Hampshire, who reviewed the black box data says, “There is no indication that the driver fell asleep.”
He says the data shows Murray didn’t just accelerate; he pressed the gas pedal to the floor.
Despite the questions, Gov. Deval Patrick is standing by his number two, saying he sees no reason to call for an independent investigation.
“I know this man. I care about him. I’ve never had an accident as serious as this one, but I’ve been in an accident before and I know how it happens instantly and I know how flawed people’s accounts of them often are, and I think as I say the most important thing for me and I think most residents of the Commonwealth is to thank God he’s OK and no one else was hurt,” Patrick said.
Murray says he will pay the $555 in fines the State Police have given him for speeding and other violations, and pay to replace his car.
Murray also asked for, and was given, a breathalyzer test at the scene. He said he blew a zero, but in response to a FOX Undercover public records request for the report, a State Police spokesman says he knows of no written record of a test, which was apparently done in the field and not recorded.