Drag racer hits, maims pedestrian

June 13, 2008
By

JOHN RUCH

WOODBOURNE—A teenage drag racer ran down a 65-year-old pedestrian, causing injuries so severe her leg had to be amputated, in a May 30 hit-and-run on Hyde Park Avenue, according to the Boston Police Department (BPD) and prosecutors.

Roslindale resident Kenneth Mauras, 17, is the alleged driver of the souped-up red Honda that mowed down the pedestrian at Hyde Park Avenue and Eldridge Road around 7:30 p.m. He was arrested a few blocks away and charged with driving to endanger, leaving the scene of an accident, drag racing and operating without a license, on top of multiple traffic citations.

That stretch of Hyde Park Avenue is known for drag racing and related accidents, as the Gazette reported late last summer.

“It’s usually a bad accident when [drag racers] have an accident,” said Sgt. Thomas Manning of the local E-18 Police Station.

Mauras pleaded innocent at his June 2 arraignment at Jamaica Plain’s West Roxbury District Court on the Arborway. He is being held on $50,000 cash bail and also—at the request of the State Department of Probation—on unnamed offenses committed as a juvenile, according to prosecutors.

After the arraignment, about 20 to 30 members of both Mauras’s and the suspect’s families brawled in front of the courthouse, according to police. Four people were arrested, including two JP men—Miguel Soto, 23, and Luis Pena, 18—who were charged with assault and battery, among other alleged crimes.

“Emotions can run high in every court case, especially one with facts as disturbing as those introduced at Mr. Mauras’ arraignment,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley in a press statement. “There is no excuse, however, for behavior such as this [brawl]—not at a courthouse and not anywhere else.”

Mauras allegedly began racing with the driver of a black Acura Integra at the intersection of Hyde Park Avenue and Walk Hill Street, headed toward Roslindale. Manning said a BPD sergeant happened to be driving behind the sports cars in a patrol car, but apparently was not noticed by the drivers.

“He could hear the RPMs of the engines before he saw them,” Manning said.

The cars took off racing when the traffic light turned green. Following behind, the BPD officer came across the injured pedestrian. “He’s amazed the woman was even alive,” Manning said.

The impact “nearly severed the lower portion of the victim’s left leg,” according to a press statement from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. The leg had to be amputated, according to the DA’s Office.

The officer put out an alert, and other officers were able to stop Mauras several blocks away at Blakemore Street in Roslindale.

A Hyde Park Avenue resident complained to the Gazette last summer that drag racers had crashed into her parked car twice that year in hit-and-run incidents. She said her multiple calls to the police got no response, though E-18 officers claimed to have no such calls on record.

The Gazette last August observed heavily modified, drag racing-type cars darting through early evening traffic on the same part of Hyde Park Avenue.

Manning said there recently has been “a series of hit-and-runs in that stretch” that could be due to drag racers wrecking. And, he said, drag racing is certainly known to take place there.

“The gist of the problem used to be after midnight, when there’s no traffic,” he said. “But now, [they race] anytime after school hours.”

BPD already cracked down on American Legion Highway drag racing last year. Now it is stepping up enforcement there and on Hyde Park Avenue, Manning said.

BPD is also examining motor vehicle records to see if illegally modified cars can be seized on the street, and posting “no trespassing” signs on American Legion Highway strip-mall parking lots where racers gather, he said.

“They make sure there are no police in the area when they do these drag races,” Manning said, noting that teens use cell phones and text messages to coordinate and make sure the coast is clear. “They’ll ride around, 40 in a pack, until they see no police around.”

Manning urged residents to call 911 (on a cell phone, 343-4911) immediately if they see sports cars gathering anywhere.

BPD is also seeking the driver of the black Acura that Mauras was allegedly racing against. Anyone with information can contact E-18 detectives at 343-5607.