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Needham woman faces charges for Downtown Crossing crash that sent three to the hospital

Update: Bail set at $5,000.

Boston Police charge a Needham woman without a driver's license ran a red light and plowed into a group of pedestrians, sending three to the hospital - after good Samaritans lifted the woman's car off them.

Police say Shanitqua Steele, 25, was on School Street around noon when she ran the light at Washington Street in a courtesy car from a New Jersey Mercedes-Benz dealer:

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.

Steele was charged with unlicensed operation, using a motor vehicle without authority and leaving the scene of a personal-injury accident, police say.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's office adds:

Victims are a 63-year-old woman visiting Boston from Spain, a 45-year-old Milford woman, and her 9-year-old son, who suffered injuries ranging from minor to serious but not life-threatening.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

She seems like a lovely person.

http://www.itemlive.com/news/police-log-7-12-2016/

Shanitqua Steele, 25, of 269 Linden St., Needham, was arrested and charged with assault and battery at 11:12 a.m. Monday.

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Not giving any excuses as to why she is how she is, but I was searching around for info about her and found that her brother was shot to death when she was 16. I can't imagine what the mother has gone through.

Sometimes these types of tragic events happen and some families are never the same again. Thankfully after yesterday's events, there aren't more families mourning a death of a loved one.

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I don't know.

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We've all had bad times in our lives. But that doesn't excuse lack of personal responsibility. Part of being an adult is owning your actions. Ms Steele seems to be incapable of this:

- unauthorized use of the vehicle
- no license? Did she ever have one?
- B.S. excuse that she "was trying to stop"
- runs away, leaving people trapped under her car?

Ms Steele needs to learn to take responsibility, and that starts with going to court and accepting the consequences of her actions.

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Witnesses had to pick her car off of the 9 year old boy she slammed into. Do you feel sorry for the little boy? A young child's life will never be the same again due to the actions of an adult. She knew EXACTLY what she was doing when she got behind the wheel without a driver's license: breaking the law and endangering others.

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Yes, I feel bad for everyone involved. Feelings aren't binary for some.

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She was charged with assault and battery just last month in Lynn. Since she isn't licensed then she isn't insured so the people she assaulted probably won't get a penny from her. Why did the dealership give a car to this piece of unlicensed garbage? The victims should look into suing them as well. I hope she gets some serious jail time and that the victims recover quickly.

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Also charged with "using car without authorization." So...

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she most likely borrowed the car from a "friend"

I can almost 100% guarantee the dealership didn't give her a car.

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Was the car from an NJ dealership or did it just have an NJ plate?

Some of these car sales operations are interstate and some companies shuffle courtesy cars around.

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It says "Courtesy Car" at the top of the rear windshield. So, there's that.

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You don't think the car is insured through the dealer? I would think so... but don't know how these things work, as I've never carried auto insurance in Massachusetts.

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Maybe the person the car was originally loaned to - their insurance will have to pick it up?

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A unlicensed third party. That person will probably be named in the forthcoming suit along with the idiot driving and if they have no assets to go after their wages will be garnished.

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Probably. So the victims would hopefully get money from that insurance and then that insurance would go after this terrible woman who should have been charged with reckless driving and assault with a deadly weapon. If you look at the charges you would have no idea she ran through a red light and seriously hurt 3 people. This country treats pedestrians like their lives don't matter.

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At least initially.

I recently had a loaner from a local dealership. We had it for over a week. My husband picked it up, so I made sure that I was considered a legit driver on it by reading the contract terms. There was a great deal of "no" regarding unauthorized drivers, and a lot of "not responsible for" lists as well.

The contracts themselves are pretty clear that the dealership, the automaker, the holding company, Big Brother and all other corporate entities are not responsible for any bad things that happen involving the car when they are not in possession of it. If there were a mechanical failure resulting in mayhem, well, they could probably be held responsible but even then you would probably have go to court to get there.

One person who is absolutely responsible is the person who was authorized to have the car and then handed over the keys to the unlicensed unlisted driver. That's because the contract clearly says that the person signing out the car is responsible for the car while it is loaned out, and they are not to let unauthorized drivers drive it.

TL/DR: It will be an uphill battle to collect off of anybody but the person who loaned out the car to the unauthorized drivers. Their insurance will only cover this if it would have covered it on their own personal car (meaning: not bloody likely).

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First, if you are covered by auto insurance (even in the household of a covered auto owner) there should be some compensation at least for medical expenses even if you're a pedestrian in an accident.

Also, uninsured motorist coverage is a dirt cheap option and all drivers, esp. In MA are crazy not to have it, IMHO. Comes out to pennies a day for decent amount of compensation. You have to get a plate # at the least so it doesn't cover true hit and runs but has helped me out in the past when in an accident caused by an unlicensed and uninsured driver.

Mandatory coverage is the bare minimum required by law. You can really protect yourself by boosting medical and other coverage.

My additional coverage gives me peace of mind for if I'm ever at fault but much more importantly is to cover myself for when the underinsured kooky driver is at fault.
Sadly, in my experience crappy drivers rarely see the need for the insurance they truly need.
More sadly if you're a pedestrian totally uncovered by anyone's policy there's a good chance you could be SOL as Swirly noted.

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I believe uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory in MA. Underinsured coverage is optional, but is a really good idea.

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How on earth did she get a loaner from a NJ dealership? Any word if the car was stolen?

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borrowed.

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Steele was charged with unlicensed operation, using a motor vehicle without authority and leaving the scene of a personal-injury accident, police say.

...but that's it!? Or are these just the criminal charges, and civil citations (e.g running the red light) will come separately?

I'd still expect her to at least be charged with SOMETHING criminal relating to running over three people.

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Why isn't this Assault with a Deadly Weapon?

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assault is defined as being an act with intent behind it

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....but I think Assault requires intent, which there may or may not be here. This would then be Battery with a Deadly Weapon.

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That's what she's been charged with so far. Simmer down, cowboy, this is gonna be a long trailride.

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http://www.wcvb.com/news/driver-charged-in-downtown-crossing-crash-that-...

She was charged with 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.

Her attorney said the vehicle was a “loaner car” that Steele was not familiar with.
“It may even be mechanical to the car. The car accelerated. And it was something that she was trying to avoid and stop,” Defense attorney Michael Roitman said.

Convenient to leave out the minor part that she allegedly had no driver's license.

Adam, please follow up on this case. If she was truly unlicensed and ran the red light (there's got to be surveillance footage, no?), let's hope she gets to contemplate her decision in prison and receives a lifetime ban on obtaining a license in any state. (We know neither is likely to happen.)

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reminded me of the accident on Beacon St. a few months ago where one of the high-end cars drag racing was from a North Shore dealership. The car was abandoned, pedestrian on the sidewalk injured, and the two in that car got in the other car and left. Has there ever been a follow-up about this anywhere?

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Was she unlicensed because she never learned to drive, or the state determined tshe was a dangerous driver? Or because she got one ticket she couldn't pay, or jumped a turnstile on the T, or any of the other reasons you can lose your license if you don't have the money to get it back?

I don't have sympathy for the crashing-into-people part. But for the unlicensed operation charge, there are a lot of ways poor people can get stuck without a license.

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