A Boston police captain determined that a police officer who crashed their car while driving Mayor Michelle Wu in Roslindale earlier this year “did contribute” to the crash by running a red light.
However, Captain Leighton B. Facey recommended in his report that no disciplinary action be taken against the officer, Keyanna Smith, since she was operating “with due care,” following department protocols, and the fact that this was “the first Department of Motor Vehicle accident in which the officer’s actions resulted or contributed to” a crash.
The captain’s report diverged from an earlier department finding that concluded Smith had nothing to do with causing the crash.
Boston25 first reported the news. The station obtained the report through a public records request. The Globe has since verified the report.
The crash occurred in June near the intersection of Hyde Park Avenue and Blakemore Street. A video showed the unmarked Ford Mustang police car had flashing blue emergency lights when it was T-boned by an oncoming black Honda CR-V traveling in the opposite direction. Photos from the crash show a mangled front end of the Honda and damage to the Mustang’s front driver’s side wheel well.
The police car was not heading to an emergency, and the crash prompted questions about why the car had activated its emergency lights and sirens.
According to Wu’s office, the mayor was on her way to the Copley Library for a Cabinet meeting. At the time, a Wu spokesperson said the BPD’s dignitary protection unit exercises “discretion on when to use lights and sirens, and must follow protocols on how to do so safely.”
On Thursday, Wu was asked whether the crash showed the need to change police procedures. The mayor said she deferred to BPD “on what their policy should be.”
“I’m just thankful that everyone is safe,” Wu told reporters.
Police Sergeant Detective Cary Chin, who investigated the wreck, said in his report that Smith brought her car to a stop at the red light in the intersection before “proceeding to cross the outbound lanes of Hyde Park Avenue.”
The crash was captured by multiple video surveillance systems, according to police reports. The police car had its lights and siren on, prompting at least two cars to stop. The Honda CR-V, however, did not, colliding with the Mustang in the intersection, according to Chin’s report.
The driver of the Honda, Yosmery Peña, told the Globe earlier this year she didn’t see the police car because vehicles in the right lane were blocking her view, nor did she hear any sirens. Her 1-year-old baby was in the car at the time.
“I thought, ‘[Good heavens!] That car shouldn’t have crossed,’” she told the Globe in June. “It was traumatizing for me; I was so scared and nervous for my baby, who started crying immediately.”
Chin concluded that Smith’s actions did not cause the crash, saying the officer was acting “in a responsible manner while operating her assigned unit department motor vehicle and obeying the traffic laws.” His report said that Smith was driving the car in accordance with department rules and procedures.
“I find that there is no need for counseling or further investigation regarding this motor vehicle crash,” wrote Chin.
However, Facey, the police captain, stated in his report: “I respectfully report that after reviewing the attached reports, I do not fully agree with the finding of Sergeant Detective Cary Chin ... in this investigation.”
Wu, who told police she was reviewing documents on her phone at the time of the crash, rode in an ambulance with Peña and her child to Boston Children’s Hospital. Peña at first was reluctant to go to the hospital, according to police reports.
In the summer, Peña said the police report “makes it look like I was at fault for the crash.”
“The report is very convenient to their side,” she said.
In the aftermath of the crash, Peña got a repair estimate for her CR-V of $8,800, which she was told her insurance company would cover after she paid a deductible of $1,000.