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Police: Teen Driver May Have Been Distracted Before Fatal Mendon Crash

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Dan Zamfir moved from Romania to the United States to pursue his American dream.

And it was coming true. His family says he ran New England Satellite and Sound, and the company was taking off with contracts in several states.

“He was more than a cousin to me, he was more like a brother,” said Jim Babu. “He was just a great person, always helped out everybody.”

Zamfir, who was 56 and lived in Woonsocket, RI, had brought his boat to Nipmuc Marine and Auto in Mendon, Mass. He and the shop owner were checking out the boat on the side of Route 16 when a teen driver slammed into him according to police.

“We heard a loud bang and all of a sudden we saw a body flying,” said witness Carlos Alves.

Alves and others tended to the victim before paramedics arrived.

Douglas Hood, who pulled up to the scene moments after the crash, saw the Good Samaritans.

“They were trying to comfort the person but I don’t think they were getting any response from him,” said Hood. “He looked just totally lifeless.”

Police say it is possible the 18-year-old driver, who just graduated from high school, was using a phone or GPS and that may be to blame for the crash.

Mendon Police Officer Matthew Hoar also says that it is common for people near Nipmuc to pull their boats to the side of the road.

“It’s general practice for this location,” said Hoar. “There’s no real parking for the boats and the trucks so they park on both sides of the street and check on the boats and take care of business.”

Witnesses say the teen who caused the crash looked to be distraught. She has been identified by Mendon Police as Sarah Chandler of Franklin.

“The girl came out of the SUV and realized what happened, she was in shock, she looked like she was going to pass out,” said Alves.

Zamfir leaves behind a wife and grown son. Relatives say the teen driver needs to be held accountable.

“Obviously she wasn’t paying attention,” said Babu.

Family members of Sarah Chandler tell WBZ-TV they do not think there was any distracted driving. They say she simply did not see the man on the side of the road.

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