District 6 City Councilor Kendra Lara says an as-yet-unreleased report she commissioned from a crash reconstruction company indicates she was driving 27 mph when she crashed a borrowed vehicle into a house on Centre Street in June. A Boston Police Department investigator has said that Lara was driving at least 50 mph at the time of the accident.
Lara, a first-term city councilor, is facing two opponents, Jamaica Plain's Ben Weber and West Roxbury's William King, in the preliminary municipal election on September 12. Two candidates will advance to the general election on November 7.
On June 30 at around 4:25 pm, Lara, whose driver's license was revoked in 2013, was driving on Centre Street and said she swerved to avoid hitting a vehicle pulling out of a driveway, avoided another oncoming vehicle, and drove into a house at 803 Centre St.
Lara's 7-year old son was in the back seat and required stitches at Boston Children's Hospital. Lara told Jamaica Plain News that her son was wearing a seatbelt but was not in a booster seat, as required by law.
"I have acknowledged that I have made mistakes and apologized for those mistakes to my family, my constituents, and directly to the homeowner," Lara said.
Lara announced the findings of the commissioned report on Thursday outside of the Blessed Sacrament Church. The report used data from the vehicle's black box, she said. A black box in a car is an event data recorder (EDR) that depicts data such as speed, brake usage, seatbelt usage, airbag deployment, and other relevant information.
Lara told Jamaica Plain News that a copy of the report will be made available to media once it goes through the chain of command processes at the crash reconstruction company, The Crash Lab.
A spokesperson for the Worcester District Attorney’s office said they cannot comment on pending cases, reported The Boston Globe. The case had been transferred to the Worcester DA's office.
Lara pleaded not guilty to multiple charges related to the accident, including negligent operation of a motor vehicle, assault and battery on a child with injury, operating a motor vehicle after suspension, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.
Lara said she was driving a friend's car with a lapsed registration, and claimed that a clerk magistrate dropped the charges when the friend explained the registration had been lapsed for a few weeks. Lara also claimed the vehicle was insured.
Lara said that she has applied for a new driver's license, and that "personal circumstances" led to her choosing to drive without a license.
"I have spoken publicly about the circumstances leading up to the accident, the bureaucratic mess that kept my license suspended even after paying all my fines and submitting all my paperwork, and the personal circumstances that led me to get behind the wheel to get myself and my autistic son from point a to point b," Lara told Jamaica Plain News. "This is not an attempt to absolve myself of my mistake; I take full responsibility for my actions and wish that I would've made a better choice.
"My hope is that my worst moment does not overshadow two years of a reliable progressive voting record and policies that center working people," Lara said.