Mayor de Blasio’s NYPD SUV was cruising the wrong way with lights and sirens blaring when it got into a car crash, sparking a frantic cover-up by his security detail, a new accident report obtained by the Daily News shows.
NYPD Det. Edgar Robles was driving west against traffic on E. 135th St. in the unmarked black Chevy Tahoe when he collided with a boiler truck at Fifth Ave. at 8:15 a.m. on a Saturday in August 2015, according to the report provided by the department. The mayor and two other detectives were in the vehicle at the time.
Both City Hall and the NYPD declined to say whether the mayor was running late. But in an appearance Friday on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show,” de Blasio expressed his displeasure with reckless drivers — on e-bikes — cruising on the wrong side of the street.
“We’ve seen them going the wrong way, weaving through traffic, going up on the sidewalks, all the things that many, many New Yorkers find dangerous and unsettling, and they can reach very high speeds,” de Blasio said.
The NYPD accident report indicates the boiler truck was making a legal left turn onto Fifth Ave. when the mayor’s SUV crashed into it.
“I was making a left turn onto 5th Ave. and he overtook me and he hit me,” the truck driver Marvin Woodruff, 39, told cops.
Robles, meanwhile, blamed Woodruff. “As I approached 5th Ave. I stopped and inched up to clear the intersection when he hit my rear passenger side of the (SUV),” Robles told cops, according to the report.
Robles was determined to be at fault.
“The driver of the incident was verbally instructed regarding the impact of safe vehicle operation,” NYPD spokesman Phil Walzak has previously said.
“The use or emergency equipment in the NYPD vehicle used to transport the mayor is up to the judgment and discretion of the detectives and supervisors assigned to the security detail,” he added.
The mayor was en route to a Harlem walk-run event. Text messages obtained by the Daily News showed that the commanding officer of the unit, Inspector Howard Redmond, ordered the accident be covered up. Sources said Redmond feared the headlines about the crash in light of de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which seeks to reduce pedestrian and traffic deaths through stricter enforcement, according to multiple sources close to the Executive Protection Unit.
State law requires that any accident with more than $1,000 in damage be filed with the DMV. The agency has confirmed that it does not have a report regarding the accident. A source told the Daily News the vehicle was out of service for two weeks. Text messages showed members of the security detail were worried the press might see damage to the SUV.
The NYPD could not offer an explanation as to why no report was filed with the state.
The 16,000-pound boiler truck did not sustain damage, according to Bill Connelly, owner of Consolidated Boiler Service. The SUV did not fare as well.
“They had damage, that I do know. You hit the back of the truck you’re going to have some damage,” he said.
An NYPD spokesman initially told The News the police accident report would have to be obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.
The Department’s FOIL unit said it would take a minimum of four months to produce the four-page accident report.
The Department then reversed course and provided the report.
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