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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Spin-out patrol

The tale of Lt. Gov. Tim Murray and the overnight ride is now spinning as wildly out of control as the Crown Vic did on that fateful night.

The Globe reports that an independent investigator it hired to review the black box data supports Murray's original contention that he hit some black ice before careening across I-190 and into a some rocks early on the morning of Nov. 2.

State Police -- and Murray -- later changed the story to the former Worcester mayor falling asleep at the wheel around 5:26 a.m. But traffic safety researcher Jeffrey Muttart begs to differ:
“It is highly unlikely that anyone would be sleeping,’’ wrote Muttart along with coauthor Jon Northrup in their 10-page analysis. Muttart added that Murray could have been sleepy before the accident, though “only the Lieutenant Governor knows for sure.’’
That's because they say black box data suggests Murray tried to steer the vehicle twice during the 14 seconds it took for the accident to happen. And although he was clocked at a maximum of 108 mph, the experts say data suggests Murray's foot was not on the accelerator.

State Police are getting a bit testy over the back and forth:
“Since the day the lieutenant governor crashed, we have investigated 16 fatal crashes on state roads - two of them double fatalities,’’ said State Police spokesman David Procopio. “But it is the lieutenant governor’s crash that so dominates the public discourse. Something’s wrong about that.’’
Yes and no. While Murray immediately offered to take a Breathalyzer test and passed, his story has spun out of control, so much so that he has had to hire professional spin doctors. Let's review:
  • He said he was surveying damage from the freak October snowstorm. In the dead of night.
  • He said he clambered out of bed when his kids climbed in because he couldn't sleep.
  • He said he was out looking for a Herald and a cup of coffee.
  • He said he thinks better in solitary drives.
Murray has steadfastly refused to release his cell phone records, which would indicate if he were talking or texting at the time of the accident. While he says he is standing on what he perceives as principle, the stance suggests there is something to hide.

Like it or not, precedent or not, this crash will not go away until he releases the phone records. Elected officials know their lives become open books when they take an oath of office. If he was texting while driving -- against the law in Massachusetts -- he may just reinforce his image as a regular guy. If he was talking to someone with whom he has a secret relationship, he would joining a large fraternity of politicians.

And if he comes clean, voters may just forgive and forget. If he doesn't, they won't. Hopefully that was the first thing his high-priced crisis communications consultant told him.

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Blogger Dan Kennedy said...

The crash has been very good for Murray. No one is talking about his toxic relationship with Michael McLaughlin.

January 16, 2012 7:35 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

But we are speculating that Michael McLaughlin is the reason he won't release the phone records

January 16, 2012 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absent anything in the records that could exonerate him from texting or such, prior to the accident, or clearing him of McLaughlin problems, we are assuming that he does have serious problems in both cases, and barring a miraculous turnaround in public opinion, he's toast as far as hope for any higher office. This is from a reliable Democratic voter.

January 16, 2012 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we didn't give these officials state owned vehicles, they'd be driving their own. If they crashed it, short of killing someone it would be their own problem and we wouldn't and shouldn't care. They make enough to pay for their own ride, and I bet Tim wishes he was in his own car now.

January 16, 2012 11:55 AM  

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