Canton police chief cited for hitting pedestrian in crosswalk with town-owned SUV, officials say

CANTON, Mass. — Canton Police Chief Helena Rafferty, who was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, issued a statement more than a month after she struck a person with a town-owned vehicle in Wrentham.

Chief Rafferty said in a statement Monday that she was driving home in her official SUV on February 16 when she “accidentally struck” a Wrentham resident. The chief said she was turning left from South Street onto Creek Street when she caught sight of the pedestrian’s reflective vest.

“I immediately applied my brakes, but unfortunately, the car made contact with him, knocking him to the ground. I immediately exited my vehicle to render first aid and called 911,” the chief said.

Rafferty said she remained on the scene throughout the emergency response to answer questions and in addition, she requested a breathalyzer test for herself.

“The result was 0.00,” according to an incident report released from Wrentham police, adding that Rafferty “was issued a civil citation” that night for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Rafferty said Monday she has since paid the fine.

The pedestrian, identified as Michael Barry, was taken to Rhode Island Hospital for treatment after suffering a laceration to the right side of his head and complaining of left knee pain, one report said.

Barry’s attorney Seth Jacobs told Boston 25 News Monday he had suffered multiple fractures to his legs, ribs and shoulder. He endured major knee surgery, spending one week in the hospital and a second week in rehab, Jacobs said.

“He’s appreciative for all the help first responders gave at the scene, and he has a long road to recovery ahead,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said his client has not decided whether or not he will file a lawsuit but said he has been in touch with the insurance company for the town of Canton.

On the night of the Feb. crash responding officers took photographs of the SUV at the crime scene which didn’t show significant damage.

“There was a white scuff mark on the passenger front bumper from either MICHAEL’s person or his cane (see photograph),” the report said. “No other damage was noted to [motor vehicle] #1, and it did not require a tow as it was operable. I observed the area of the crash to be poorly lit with only one fluorescent light.”

A witness of the crash also approached officers at the scene and told them Rafferty was “not operating erratically before the crash,” as indicated in the report.

While Rafferty said she notified Canton town officials about the incident, she expressed regret for not informing the public.

“Upon further reflection and considering the amount of attention that has been focused on Canton, I should have issued a statement sooner,” she wrote.

Canton Police have been under widespread scrutiny over the handling of the Karen Read murder case. Read is accused of running down her Boston Police officer boyfriend John O’Keefe with her SUV outside 34 Fairview Rd in Canton just after midnight on January 29, 2022.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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