BOSTON — Yosmery Peña was driving home Tuesday morning with her one-year-old boy when she says an unmarked police car driving Boston Mayor Michelle Wu suddenly made a left turn through red lights onto a busy avenue in Hyde Park.
Peña said she could not see the vehicle driving Wu, who was on her way to an event at the Copley Library.
Video footage obtained by Boston 25 News shows two vehicles in the right-most lane on Hyde Park Avenue as Peña made her way down the second lane of traffic.
Peña said those vehicles obstructed her view and made it impossible for her to have seen the car before the two vehicles collided.
“I couldn’t see the car before the crash,” Peña told Investigative Reporter Ted Daniel at an interview at her home in Hyde Park.
Peña spoke to Daniel in Spanish through a translator and Investigative Producer Marina Villeneuve.
“The car should have stopped and given enough time for the traffic to completely stop before it went through the red lights,” she said.
And, Peña said she never heard the other car’s sirens.
In contrast, the police report says the unmarked Ford Mach E car had its “lights and sirens activated” as it “slowly” approached Hyde Park Avenue.
The police report stresses that the “first lane of traffic traveling outbound on Hyde Park Avenue was able to see and hear the cruiser entering the intersection.”
“Officer Smith was in the second lane of traffic when vehicle #1… approached and collided into the driver’s side of the cruiser,” claims the report. “Officer Smith was unable to avoid the collision due to vehicle #1′s fast approach and did not stop or slow down for the cruiser’s lights and siren.”
Boston 25 reporters reviewed the video footage of the collision, which has audio of the moments leading up to and preceding the crash. The audio includes the sound of the collision, but the footage doesn’t appear to capture the sound of any sirens.
A former Boston Police superintendent told Boston 25 that it’s common practice for cars driving elected officials in Boston to use emergency lights to get through traffic quickly.;
But there’s no official policy outlining the rules for what’s OK when it comes to driving a public official in the vehicle – including when and how drivers can go through red lights.
Peña said her son was safely buckled up in a car seat.
Peña says an ambulance brought her son to Children’s Hospital as a precaution. She says he was deemed OK and seemed to be doing fine by mid-day Wednesday.
Peña says she refused medical attention Tuesday morning, but said she began to feel pain in the back of her neck, shoulder, back, and head by the afternoon.
By Wednesday afternoon, she said the back of her neck still hurt.
As of Wednesday evening, Peña’s car remained at a Roslindale body shop – minus the front bumper and grill.
Yosmery is a Lyft driver. She said the car is her family’s sole vehicle and source of income.
But for now, it’s in the shop.
Peña said she hopes Boston takes a hard look at when it’s okay for cars driving officials to go through red lights.
Peña said the crash shook her and her son up.
“I was very scared,” she said. “I was worried about my baby in the back seat and checking on him to make sure he was okay.”
Yosmery and her son were heading home on Hyde Park Avenue after dropping her two other kids at daycare.
Peña credits Mayor Wu for spending time comforting her and making sure her baby got to Children’s Hospital.
“She was incredibly nice and caring with me, checking in on the baby,” Peña said. “It was a tragic way to meet her, but for me, she’s a wonderful person.”
Peña said there are no hard feelings – but she wondered why her driver was in a rush
And she hopes the experience can at least bring about change to city policy.
She wants the city to reevaluate the use of running red lights when it’s not an emergency.
She said the car driving Wu should have waited longer given the other two cars in the right-most lane.
“I know that there are rules about when police can go through red lights if they put on the siren or lights,” Peña said. “But also I think they should stop for a few moments so the traffic can stop completely.”
“The other driver made a mistake,” she said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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