A toll collector at work overnight on the Massachusetts TurnPike in Auburn was struck and killed in what some say appears to have been a tragic accident.
Investigators say 61-year-old Bill Pappas of Holden was crossing in front of an EZ Pass lane at the tolls when a 2010 Toyota Tacoma driven by a 31-year-old Charlton man headed home from work just after midnight struck him as his car was exiting the toll booth.
First responders say there was little they could do to save Pappas.
"We found the 61-year-old male lying in the roadway with serious injuries, he was transported to UMass Hospital in Worcester, the accident is currently under investigation by the state police," Auburn Fire Chief Stephen Coleman said.
"Driver stopped immediately, fully cooperating with the state police and two victims in a situation such as this," MassDOT Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin said.
It's the first fatal accident involving a toll collector in Massachusetts since 1999.
"Fortunately, we have a really good safety record, but a tragedy like this is one too many," Tinlin said.
MassDOT Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin says Pappas' relatives and coworkers are reeling from his sudden death.
"Bill was just one of those all around good guys," said Tinlin, "I had the opportunity to speak to some of his colleagues today in person and talked about he was just a true gentleman."
Tinlin says when crossing in front of cash or ticket lanes, toll collectors will flip on a red light and put out an orange cone, but with an EZ Pass lane its up to toll collectors to put on their safety vests and cross when traffic allows.
The investigation into this incident continues.