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Before crashing into Jamaica Plain house, Councilor Kendra Lara was driving double the speed limit, police say

Councilor Kendra Lara apologized to constituents on July 8.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Boston City Councilor Kendra Lara was driving at least 53 miles per hour on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain when she crashed an unregistered, uninsured car into the front of a house on a Friday afternoon last month, according to police documents obtained by the Globe on Wednesday.

The report also revealed that Lara has not had a valid Massachusetts driver’s license since 2013, when it was suspended after she failed to pay a fine for not wearing a seat belt.

Police investigators are looking to cite Lara with additional violations, including reckless operation of a motor vehicle, speeding, and a seat belt violation, the documents show. She was already facing charges of operating a motor vehicle after suspension, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle, according to a separate police report.

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Lara could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

An investigator determined Lara was driving a 2019 Honda Civic at a minimum of 53 miles per hour — more than double the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit there — before going off the road and crashing into a house at 803 Centre St. The report states she could have been traveling as fast as 59 miles per hour.

The crash occurred at about 4:25 p.m. on June 30, when, police noted, the weather was “clear and dry.”

One police officer “noted the amount of pedestrian and vehicular traffic was heavy at this time period due to rush hour,” the report obtained by the Globe read.

Boston City Councilor Kendra Lara crashed a car she was driving into a house. Erin Clark/Globe Staff

One witness told police he was in his parked car preparing to exit his parking space when he noticed a car, which turned out to be the Honda Civic Lara was driving, traveling at a “high rate of speed.” He did not proceed into the street, because he feared the gray Honda sedan would hit his car, according to the report. He saw the car make a hard left turn into a fence before coming to a rest in some bushes and a front porch.

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An investigator noted in the report that, according to the photos from the scene, “no evidence of braking was observed.”

In the wake of the crash, Lara apologized to constituents on July 8.

“We are all accountable for our actions, and I am no different, which is why I offer my sincerest apologies to everyone, especially the people of District 6,” Lara said in a statement. “As an elected official, I’ve worked hard to center the dignity and humanity of my constituents. Today, I ask you to also see mine as I work to correct my mistake.”

Lara is expected to appear in court on July 19.

Patrick J. Murphy, a Boston attorney who routinely deals with driving offenses, said that while serious, the charges against Lara seemed “highly resolvable.”

Murphy said he would be “surprised” if Lara served any prison time, though offenses such as driving with a revoked license or without insurance are criminal misdemeanors.

“This is salacious because it’s a political person,” Murphy added, but “this is a run-of-the-mill-type case.”

An initial police report said Lara told officers that she and her son were wearing their seat belts when she swerved to avoid another car that had pulled out in front of her.

The car Lara was driving was unregistered, uninsured, and had an expired registration sticker, according to police.

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The crash sent Lara’s 7-year-old son to Boston Children’s Hospital, where he received several stitches. One investigator noted there were multiple blood stains visible in the car after the crash. Lara, according to a police report, did not appear to have any physical injuries and did not report any to the police on the scene.

Boston police contacted the Department of Children and Families because Lara’s son was riding in the back seat without a booster seat, which is required for children under age 8 or who are under 57 inches tall, according to a police report.

Earlier this week, Mayor Michelle Wu addressed the recent controversies surrounding city councilors in a GBH Boston Public Radio interview.

In addition to Lara’s crash, City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo paid a $3,000 fine last month for representing his brother in a sexual harassment lawsuit with the city while sitting on the council, which state ethics authorities determined to be a conflict of interest.

“I think it hurts the credibility on every issue,” Wu said when asked about the controversies’ potential impact on the council’s decision making.

Additionally, City Council President Ed Flynn recently criticized his colleagues for bringing “negative attention to the institution.”

“The people of Boston deserve the highest standards of strong and ethical leadership,” Flynn said in his statement last week. Flynn declined to comment Wednesday on the new violations Lara is facing.

After Lara’s crash, Flynn called for a review of employee parking procedures at City Hall. Specifically, Flynn wrote, drivers should “be required to provide verification of a valid driver’s license, copy of a vehicle registration, and insurance,” he said.

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Four City Hall employees, who requested anonymity to speak about their colleague, said Lara has long driven to work at City Hall and parked in the garage there, including just days before the accident. Two of the people said Lara routinely drives a Honda Civic, the same color as cited in the police report, while two said they could not recall the specific model of the sedan she drove.

Lara, of Jamaica Plain, is running for her second term on the council, where she is known as a progressive across a wide swath of policy areas, including police reform and housing.

Globe correspondent Sarah Raza contributed to this report.


Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him @Danny__McDonald. Emma Platoff can be reached at emma.platoff@globe.com. Follow her @emmaplatoff.