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Mass. politician driving 108 mph at time of car crash

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.

BOSTON - Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray was fined and cited because he apparently fell asleep behind the wheel and drove 108 miles per hour before careening off the road and crashing a state-issued vehicle last November.

A state police report detailing the 20 seconds prior to his car striking a rock ledge and the five seconds just after showed Murray was traveling at speeds ranging from 75 mph to 99 mph before driving off the road on I-190 in Sterling, Mass.

The crash data showed the vehicle hit 108 mph just before impact, according to the report released Tuesday.

Murray, who not injured in the crash, was fined $555 for speeding, lane and seat belt violations.

Read NBC News affiliate WHDH.com's complete coverage

Back in November, Murray said he lost control of the vehicle on black ice, causing the crash. The car skidded and rolled over, but Murray walked away from the wreckage. Data collected from the black box and released Tuesday led state police to rule that Murray fell asleep behind the wheel. Black ice was not the cause of the crash.

“Happened very quickly. I think the data says in a matter of seconds. My recollection is that after the car stopped rolling I realized I was okay, got out of the car, there was snowy conditions. I walked up the side of the road. There were icy conditions there. As first responders came to the scene, they commented on the black ice and warned each other of the slippery conditions -- so I assumed that’s what caused my accident,” Murray told WHDH.com.

"I did say I was wearing my seat belt. My recollection I was wearing my seat belt. After I walked away from that accident, I certainly thought I was wearing my seat belt, but again, I'm going to accept responsibility."

Murray did take a breathalyzer at the scene of the crash. The test showed no signs of alcohol involved.

Murray said he will reimburse the state for the car. The vehicle, an unmarked 2007 Ford Crown Victoria, was purchased for about $35,000 and valued at $9,000 at the time of the crash, according to The Boston Globe.

"Certainly people might have their questions. All I can say is this is what happened, I'm thankful to be alive."

Murray's driver record shows two citations for speeding; in 1992 and 2006.

In a statement on Tuesday night, Governor Deval Patrick said:

"The Lt. Governor has taken responsibility for the accident and is counting his blessings. As his colleague and his friend, so am I."

Others not so lucky
Other political officials who failed to wear seat belts in crashes haven't fared as well as Murray:

  • In 2011, Colorado lawmaker Suzanne Williams, who advocated stricter seat belt laws, did not have her three-year-old grandson restrained during a crash in Texas. Williams, who was driving, was the only passenger in her car wearing a seat belt and the crash killed a passenger in another car. The three-year-old did not die.
  • Drifting asleep at the wheel was considered a possible cause of a summer 2011 car crash that killed Bob Stenehjem, the majority leader of North Dakota's Republican-controlled state Senate. He was on a fishing trip in Alaska.
  • In 2007, former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine broke his left leg, several ribs, his sternum and collarbone after a car crash. In that instance, Corzine was not wearing a seat belt and the sport utility vehicle he was traveling in was speeding when it collided with another car.

NBC News affiliate WHDH in Boston and msnbc.com's Sevil Omer contributed to this report, as did Reuters.

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