Documents Raise New Questions About Oakland Mayor Crash and Cell Phone Use


OAKLAND (KRON) — KRON 4 News has obtained the police reports tied to the traffic accident involving Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, as well as her phone records.

As KRON 4 News reported yesterday, after initially saying the mayor was not on her cell phone during the crash, Oakland police backtracked saying the traffic investigations unit was unable to determine whether or not cell phones were in use at the time of the collision.

Police said Tuesday that the parties involved in the crash have different accounts of when the accidents occurred, “so therefore the investigator was unable to determine the exact time of the collision”

On July 11, the Oakland Police Department issued a statement that read, “The use of a handheld communication device by either driver was ruled out.”

In a follow up statement emailed on July 15, Oakland Police Ofc. Johnna Watson said that the “Traffic Investigations Unit was unable to determine whether or not cell phones were in use at the time of the collision.”

“Investigators can’t determine the exact time of the accident because of the multiple witnesses with different times,” Watson said.

“They reviewed the phoned records in that time period, but because we don’t know the exact time it occurred, they were unable to determine if a cell phone was in use at the time of the collision,” according to Watson.

On Jun 8, Quan was involved in a non-injury accident near the intersection of 26th and Market in Oakland.

KRON 4′s Alecia Reid was first on the scene and talked with the driver of a 2008 Nissan Altima that was struck. The driver, Renee Lovely, said she could see Quan on the phone just before the accident.

Other witness say Quan was driving her Lexus SUV and talking on the phone when she ran the light and hit Lovely’s car, but the mayor says she doesn’t think she’s at fault and has denied being on the phone.

The mayor first said the crash was at 5:30 p.m. Phone records indicate she was on the phone at 5:29 p.m. for two minutes meaning she would have been on the phone at the time of the crash.

Quan then said the crash was at 5:45 p.m. but phone records indicate she was on the phone at 5:44 p.m. for two minutes, again meaning she would have been on the phone at the time of the crash.

She ultimately settled on 5:25 p.m. when phone records suggest she was not on the phone.

“It looks like she labored hard to come up with a time of the accident that would basically free her of suspicion or accusation that she was on a cell phone,” said Lovely’s attorney, Charles Kelly.

A police interview with the mayor two weeks after the crash suggests she based the time of the collision on the times between two calls to her husband, one before and one after the collision.

A day after the accident Quan told reporters that she was certain she was not using her phone at the time of the collision.

“I actually showed the police officers my records from both my phone calls and my texts,” the mayor said. “So I showed them when they did their investigation the other night. Clearly during that period when I stopped beforehand until I called my husband about the accident, there was no texting and no phone calls.”

The accident happened just days after KRON 4 had confronted the mayor with photos from citizens that showed her using her cell phone without a hands-free device while behind the wheel.

Quan admitted that she was using her cell phone while operating her car despite having hands-free features in her vehicles.

“I work 24-7, I go to a lot of meetings and go to a lot of different events,” Quan explained.

“My staff and I are thinking about maybe I really need a driver because I’m working so long. It’s very easy, unconsciously to do things like that,” Quan told KRON 4.

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