Lara To Appear Before Clerk Magistrate for Charges Stemming From Auto Accident

District 6 City Councilor Kendra Lara will appear before a Clerk Magistrate in the West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court this Wednesday morning, July 19, at 9:00 for a public hearing regarding various alleged civil and criminal motor vehicle offenses in connection with an accident two weeks ago on Friday, June 30, in which she drove off the road and ran into a house on Centre St.

According to news reports and the police report, Lara was operating a 2019 Honda Civic, which belonged to another person, that was unregistered, uninsured, and had an expired inspection sticker.

City Councilor Kendra Lara.

In addition, Lara also was charged with the criminal offense of operating with a suspended license and allegedly failed to have her young son restrained in a child car booster seat, which is a civil infraction.

According to the police report, the child suffered a “deep laceration on the left eyebrow” and also had “bruising around the left eye” and was taken to Children’s Hospital. The police reportedly contacted the Dept. of Children and Families (DCF) about the incident.

Lara reportedly told police she and her son were wearing their seat belts when she swerved to avoid another car that had pulled out in front of her. Police said the other driver denied that he did so. Lara crashed through a fence on the property before crashing into the house itself.

A subsequent accident reconstruction investigation by the police resulted in the additional charges of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, which is a criminal offense, and the civil infractions of speeding (Lara was estimated to have been driving 53 m.p.h in a 25 zone) and a seat belt violation.

Lara will appear before the Clerk Magistrate for what is known as a show cause hearing, which she requested, in an unusual public setting — under longstanding court rules, show cause hearings generally are not deemed public matters — on the criminal charges of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle and for the civil offenses of operating an unregistered motor vehicle, operating an uninspected motor vehicle, speeding, and a seat belt violation. According to news reports, Lara hasn’t had a valid driver’s license since it was suspended 10 years ago for failing to pay a ticket for a seat belt violation.

The vehicle’s owner was also expected to appear in the West Roxbury court on the criminal charge of allowing an unlicensed operator to use the vehicle and for the civil infraction of allowing the operation of the unregistered motor vehicle, according to the police report.

A show cause hearing is an informal proceeding that provides defendants who have been charged with misdemeanor criminal offenses the opportunity to ask that the charges should not go forward, either because of a lack of evidence or other circumstances. A clerk magistrate must make a determination of probable cause — i.e., that there appears to be sufficient evidence to charge the accused with the named offenses — in order for a criminal complaint to issue.

If the magistrate issues a complaint, the defendant then is arraigned before a judge and proceeds through the criminal justice system. The vast majority of criminal cases involving the charges of the sort facing Lara are resolved prior to a trial.

The Gazette contacted both Councilor Lara’s office and the West Roxbury court clerk’s office for further clarification of the matter, but neither offered any comment.

Lara issued this statement on Twitter:

“We’re all accountable for our actions, and I’m no different, so I offer my sincerest apologies to everyone, especially the people of D6. As your Councilor, I will continue to steward our collective vision at City Hall and work hard to earn and maintain your trust.”

Lara, who was elected to the District 6 council seat in 2021 and is running for re-election this year, also released this statement:

“On June 30th Zaire and I were involved in a car accident on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain while driving a friend’s car. I am grateful for my family, triends, and neighbors who have been by our side and provided the support Zaire and I need to focus on our recovery.

“We are all accountable for our actions and I am no different, which is why I offer my sincerest apologies to everyone, especially the people of District 6. As an elected official, I’ve worked hard to center the dignity and humanity of my constituents. Today, I ask you to also see mine as I work to correct my mistake.

“As your City Councilor, I will continue to steward our collective vision at City Hall and work hard to earn and maintain your trust. “The grace you’ve shown me is a testament to the strength of our beloved community, and I intend to continue earning it. Thank you. In solidarity, Kendra Lara.”

City Council President Ed Flynn also issued this statement regarding recent incidents involving city councilors:

“Many Boston residents have contacted me regarding their concerns on the recent car crash in Jamaica Plain. First, it is fortunate that Councilor Lara and her child — as well as nearby homeowners, motorists, pedestrians, or bystanders — were not seriously injured, and we wish them a speedy recovery. We thank our dedicated first responders for their professionalism in ensuring that everyone was safe and was treated appropriately for their injuries.

“However, residents across the City of Boston are concerned about troubling details in the reports of this incident, allegedly including an unregistered vehicle, a revoked driver’s license, no auto insurance, an expired inspection sticker, and the lack of a booster seat for the child. This occurred in the same week that Councilor Arroyo admitted to ethics violations and was fined $3,000 by the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission.

“These events, and others in the past, continue to draw negative attention to the institution of the Boston City Council, and distract our city from focusing on the people’s business.

“The people of Boston deserve the highest standards of strong and ethical leadership. Moreover, they want elected officials who show maturity, take responsibility as adults, and demonstrate the ability to follow the same basic rules and norms as the people they serve when placing us in positions of public trust.

“The residents of Boston deserve leaders who respect their constituents and take their responsibilities seriously, especially during these challenging times.”

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