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Local teens witness crash, assist officers in rescue

UPDATED Dec. 31: The driver of a vehicle was seriously hurt when it ended up on the sidewalk in front of the town's sole dedicated movie theater; he was transported to a hospital following the late-night accident Thursday, Dec. 28, police reported Friday afternoon, Dec. 29. Managers of the Capitol Theatre have said that the venue had closed approximately 45 minutes beforehand, as it typically does, and that no damage resulted.

Police Chief Juliann Flaherty said in a news release that at about 10:13 p.m., officers of the Arlington Police Department responded to the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Lake Street for reports of a motor vehicle crash.

Arriving officers observed a gray Honda Civic on the sidewalk in front of the Capitol Theatre, 204 Mass. Ave.

car on sidewalkThe car ended up in front of the Capitol Theatre after 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 28. / photo courtesy Arlington Police Department

While approaching the vehicle, officers observed that the male driver, the sole occupant, was unresponsive.

Officers extracted the driver with assistance from three local high-school students who had been traveling on Mass. Ave. and who stopped after witnessing the crash.

Officers began life-saving measures until paramedics from the Arlington Fire Department and Armstrong Ambulance arrived and took over. The driver was transported to an area hospital for treatment of his injuries.

A preliminary investigation determined that the driver appeared to have been in distress and that the Civic had slowly rolled westbound before jumping the curb on the eastbound side of Mass. Ave.

“I would like to acknowledge the officers on duty for their response -- and the individuals who stopped to assist in safely extracting the driver,” said Chief Flaherty in a statement conveyed by the John Guilfoil public relations firm early Friday afternoon.

 The crash remains under investigation by the Arlington Police Department, the statement concluded.

"There was definitely no damage to the theater," said David J., who declined to give his full last name but said he was a manager when contacted Friday evening via telephone. He added that he had been previously unaware of the incident. "We would have been closed by 9:30 p.m., so probably no one saw it."

 Jamie Mattchen, director of operations for the Capitol, Theatre, the Somerville Theatre and the Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theatre, concurred in an email response sent this afternoon, Sunday, Dec. 31. "The accident had no effect on us. We were closed for the evening, and the car did not hit the building," she said.

Oct. 18, 2023: Local police respond to 2 car crashes in town

This article was published Friday, Dec. 29, 2023, based on information from the Arlington Police Department as conveyed by the John Guilfoil public relations firm, which specializes in news releases from public-responder organizations throughout greater Boston. The article was updated later Friday to state that the incident had had no effect on the Capitol Theatre, to correct the date in the caaption of the photograph and for general wordsmithing. It was updated Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, with a comment from a top manager of the Capitol.