A passenger died after an SUV rolled over on Route 128 in Peabody at the height of Hurricane Sandy yesterday afternoon.
The victim and two other passengers were ejected from the vehicle when it struck the right guardrail and rolled over in the southbound lane near Lowell Street around 4 p.m., according to state police. The 1998 Toyota 4Runner came to rest on its roof in the high-speed lane.
The victim was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he was pronounced dead, state police said.
A state police spokesman said investigators are looking into the possibility that speed and weather were factors in the crash. He said police would not release the name of the victim until relatives were notified.
The driver, Rony Lopez, 26, of Lynn, was not ejected from the vehicle. He was taken to Salem Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, state police said.
The two other passengers, Frederico Lopez, 18, of Lynn and Antonio Ramirez, 31, of Lynn were also transported to Mass General. Lopez had non-life-threatening injuries, while Ramierez had minor injuries.
The fatality came as Hurricane Sandy battered the North Shore with wind gusts that peaked at more than 60 mph and 8-foot-high waves that yanked boats loose from their moorings.
The storm sent trees toppling into houses and branches crashing down on vehicles and left nearly 50,000 people in Essex County without power.
But with school canceled and many workers remaining home after Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency, most people stayed inside and out of harm’s way.
Salem Hospital treated a few people for minor injuries after getting hit by tree limbs, while Beverly Hospital reported no storm-related injuries.
“I think people just hunkered down,” Beverly Hospital spokesman Gerald Mackillop said.
Falling trees created the greatest hazard in many communities. In Danvers, a huge tree was torn from its roots and crashed through the roof of a home at the corner of Fowler and Arthur streets.