Car Strikes Pedestrians on Freedom Trail in Downtown Crossing

A Needham woman was behind the wheel, police say.

Updated Friday, 10:30 a.m.: A 25-year-old Needham woman has been taken into custody and Boston Police have released the following synopsis of yesterday’s crash:

At about 12:00 PM on Thursday August 18, 2016, officers assigned to District A-1 (Downtown) responded to a call for pedestrians struck by a motor vehicle in the area of School Street and Washington Street in Boston.  On arrival, officers observed three victims lying in the street being tended to by several witnesses.  The officers learned that the victims were walking in the crosswalk when a silver Mercedes-Benz operated by Shanitqua Steele, 25, of Needham, ran the red light and struck them, partially trapping the victims beneath the vehicle.  The suspect then exited the car and fled up School Street.  Working together, a group of Good Samaritans lifted the car and dragged the victims to safety.  The victims were later transported to area hospitals for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  Officers began a search for the suspect and were told by witnesses that they had observed a person matching the suspect description enter a brown door at 3 School Street.  Officers quickly gained access to the building and located the suspect inside at which time she was placed in custody.  During the investigation it was revealed that the suspect did not a have a driver’s license.  The suspect was issued several moving violations and will appear in Boston Municipal Court on charges of Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Using a Motor Vehicle Without Authority and Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Personal Injury.

Earlier:

Three people are injured after the driver of a Mercedes-Benz with a New Jersey license plate crashed into them in Downtown Crossing, police say.

The collision was reported around noon at the intersection of Washington and School streets on the Freedom Trail, says BPD spokesman Stephen McNulty. He said previously that two people had been injured, but updated that figure later in the afternoon.

The injuries were not life-threatening, he says.

Police cleared the scene just after 3 p.m.

Witnesses say the suspect, a woman, tried to leave the scene of the crash, according to Brendan Kearney, communications director for the nonprofit advocacy group WalkBoston, who rushed over to the intersection when he saw reports about it on Twitter.

He didn’t see it himself, he says, but witnesses told him a crowd of people, including a man in a Minuteman costume, helped subdue the driver and came to the aid of the victims.

“It’s scary. I’m still a little stunned that something like this can happen,” Kearney says. “It happened at, like, noon. This place is slammed with people on a normal day and this is August, midweek. This is the height of tourist season on the Freedom Trail.”

Updated Thursday, 4:21 p.m.: Police have revised the number of people injured, from two to three.


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com