Newly-released bodycam footage shows the police response to Boston City Councilor Kendra Lara’s crash into a Jamaica Plain home.
The crash happened June 30. It left Lara’s 7-year-old son injured and in need of stitches. A house on Centre Street suffered significant damage.
Lara, who was not arrested after the crash, is facing nine charges in the incident. A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf in a court appearance Wednesday, and she was released without bail.
In the footage, an emotional Lara can be heard telling police her account of what happened in the moments leading up to the crash.
She told police another vehicle “pulled out right in front of me, he did not check his freaking mirrors to see if anybody was coming down the street, and he pulled out in front of me, I’m driving down the street, I swerved to swerve out of the way and not hit him.”
The driver of that other vehicle said Lara was speeding, and that he had barely left his parking space.
“I was beginning to pull out. I wasn’t out very far. And this car came at very high speed and swerved and went into there,” the man told police. “I was barely out at all.”
“It’s just bizarre,” he said at another point. “I was just beginning to pull out, and she came by like a bat out of hell and just swerved.”
Boston City Councilor Kendra Lara is facing nine charges in a Jamaica Plain car crash, and residents are questioning whether the elected official lives in the district she represents.
Police have accused Lara of driving at least 53 miles per hour before hitting the house, more than double the speed limit of 25 miles per hour.
Following the crash, police said Lara was driving an unregistered, uninsured car with a revoked license. In a later police report, authorities said Lara’s license had not been valid since 2013. Some of her colleagues on Boston City Council said they had seen her drive to work.
Beginning next week, workers including city councilors must provide proof of valid license, registration and insurance to park in city hall’s garages.
Investigators said Lara’s son was not in a booster seat, as required by law. The Boston Police Department filed a 51A report with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families “due to neglect and failure to use a proper car seat for the child’s safety.”
A 51A report is filed with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families if a person is accused of child abuse or neglect, according to the state’s website. A DCF spokesperson told NBC10 Boston it does not provide specifics on cases due to state and federal privacy requirements.
In a later police report, an officer raised the possibility the boy was not buckled at all, and said Lara was not wearing a seat belt.
The full list of charges against Lara includes permitting injury to a child (a court docket initially listed this charge as assault and battery on a child with injury), negligent operation of a motor vehicle, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, speeding, driving on a suspended license, driving an uninsured vehicle, not putting a child under 8 in a car seat, driving an unregistered motor vehicle and failing to wear a seat belt.
In the wake of the crash, multiple residents have questioned whether Lara actually lives in the district she represents. The city’s election department has now set up a hearing to discuss the issue.
Ahead of Wednesday’s hearings, Lara addressed news media outside of the courthouse.
“Wanting to be fully accountable for my mistake and I plan on doing everything possible to remedy any issues,” she said. “I want to say there are often circumstances that prevent good people from checking off all of their boxes and that sometimes manifests itself as things like unpaid fines. I know that as an elected official, I have to hold myself to a higher standard and I intend to do that.”
An owner of the house struck by Lara’s car was also outside of the courthouse.
“There’s been no acknowledgment on her part of her actions, no contact, no indication of remorse, no concern for the stress that she caused me and my family,” Georgia Kalogerakis said.