Family of Teacher Killed by Flying Manhole Cover on I-93 Suing MassDOT, Contractors

Caitlin Clavette, a 35-year-old elementary school art teacher, was killed in 2016 when a manhole cover dislodged and hit the windshield of her car

The family of a woman who was struck and killed by a dislodged, 200-pound manhole cover while driving on Interstate 93 in 2016 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state of Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe reports that the family of Caitlin Clavette filed the lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court earlier this week. The suit names the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and two contractors as defendants.

Clavette, 35, an elementary school art teacher in Milton, was on her way to work on Feb. 12, 2016 when the tragic accident happened. The accident occurred during the morning commute near the O'Neill Tunnel in Boston.

Clavette worked at three elementary schools in town, including Glover School, Collicot School and Cunningham Elementary School. She was a triathlete and was beloved by her students.

She had been planning to leave the following day for a ski vacation in New Hampshire where her boyfriend was planning to propose.

According to Massachusetts State Police, a manhole cover that normally rests in the left lane of I-93 became dislodged and hit the windshield of Clavette's car. After impact, the vehicle continued southbound in the left lane of I-93 before hitting the wall on the left shoulder in the area of East Berkeley Street and coming to a stop.

Clavette was pronounced dead at the scene.

In the wake of the accident, the state promised to check their 1,143 manholes around Boston and begin bolting them down. Two months later, a state trooper spotted a loose manhole cover on Route 1 in Saugus, and a state subcontractor working on the road was suspended.

NBC10 Boston's Investigators learned that manholes around Boston are checked every two years. But there are no federal guidelines for how often they should be inspected.

Contact Us