NORTH ATTLEBORO — Former Attleboro Mayor Judith Robbins was killed Monday when her car struck a parked GATRA bus on Route 1 in an accident that also injured four others.
Witnesses said CPR was performed on Robbins when she was taken out of her Mercedes Benz near the Pineapple Inn motel, but she died.
North Attleboro Fire Chief Ted Joubert said she might have suffered a “medical event” before the crash because there were no skid marks indicating an attempt to stop the car.
Four passengers on the bus were taken by ambulance to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro.
Robbins, 78, of 20 Ashton Road in Attleboro, had served 12 years as mayor and many more as city council president, and a member of the planning board and charter commission.
Her most recent appointment was chairwoman of the Attleboro Redevelopment Authority.
“Judy had an amazingly long history with the city. She shared her gifts and talents with all of us,” Mayor Kevin Dumas said.
“She was so bright, and so educated and so dedicated to the city.”
The accident occurred shortly after 2 p.m.
The bus was stopped in the right southbound lane at the time after letting off a passenger.
Daniel Astrofsky, a resident of the Pineapple Inn, helped a police officer and passersby remove Robbins from the Mercedes.
Astrofsky said she didn’t appear to be breathing.
“I was standing outside with some people when the bus came by and I lost sight of it behind some trees,” he said. “Then I heard a slam and ran to see what happened.”
He said a husband and wife in a red pickup truck stopped on the highway and helped him and a police officer who arrived on the scene. He said the police officer immediately began cardio pulmonary resuscitation.
“He didn’t waste any time starting to work on her,” he said.
He said the injuries looked serious.
“Looking at her, you could just tell,” he said.
Officers Keith McPhee and Craig Jones were the first to reach Robbins.
Nicholas Lake, 18, of North Attleboro, said he was riding the bus on his way to work at Emerald Square mall, when he felt the impact of the crash. He said he was thrown forward and bumped his head, but was not seriously injured.
Lake said he saw rescue personnel administering CPR to the driver of the Mercedes.
Martin Martinez, 27, was on his way to work at Target when he said he felt a “hard impact” when the bus was hit from behind. He was not seriously injured.
Four ambulances, including those from Attleboro and Plainville, responded to the scene.
Members of the State Police Accident Reconstruction Team were called to the scene to investigate.
The silver grey Mercedes came to rest just to the rear of the bus, its windshield and front end smashed. According to witnesses on the scene, the vehicle’s passenger side air bag deployed in the crash but the driver’s side air bag did not.
Joubert said the North Attleboro ambulance, which was at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro at the time of the crash, took about seven minutes to arrive on the scene. Attleboro and Plainville rescue units were the first to arrive.