Suffolk County

25 Investigates: Car crash ‘cherry on top’ of local driving school woes

BOSTON — “Find another street!” That’s what residents of Woodlawn Street in Jamaica Plain are asking a Boston driving school to do. They told 25 Investigates instructors from Paloma Driving School have been using their small dead-end road as a training ground for students. Parallel parking, 3-point turns, and congestion are a common sight, according to residents.

On Friday, the owner of the driving school, “unexpectedly lost control of the gas pedal” according to a Boston Police report. He took out a fire hydrant, part of a garage, a bush and fence at Kerry Spindler’s home, which is located where Woodlawn dead ends with Forest Hills Cemetery.

“This was the cherry on top of the cake,” Spindler told investigative reporter Ted Daniel as she looked at the damage. “They’ve been using our street for years as sort of ground zero for student training. The added traffic, the added turnarounds, the added use of parking spaces has been a real challenge,” she said.

Other Woodlawn residents emailed 25 Investigates following the crash.

“Fortunately, the accident the instructor had on Woodlawn St. didn’t seriously injury or kill someone. It has, however, opened conversation on our street about how we have all felt for years.” wrote Anthony Chandler.  Christy Zarlengo wrote, “We’ve been trying for years to fix this problem and have had no luck.”

25 Investigates found 3 pages of complaints filed with Boston 311′s citizen reporting website.  Most referenced Paloma vehicles taking up parking spaces on the residential street. 25 Investigates reached out to the office of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and asked if the city is aware of the issue. Her office did not respond to 2 emails.

Paloma Driving School is located at the bottom of Woodlawn Street on Hyde Park Avenue.  An employee put us in contact with the owner by phone. A man who identified himself as Mores Derisier claimed to be unaware of the concerns but said he would no longer use Woodlawn Street for driver training.

We contacted Kerry Spindler to let her know what the driving school owner told us. In an email she wrote, “That would be amazing if this story could effectuate the change we have been requesting for years.”

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