Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was in a car crash Sunday evening, when a woman hit the left rear of her city-owned Lexus SUV, but at least two witnesses say they saw the mayor run a red light.
No one was seriously injured in the accident, which came just days after photos surfaced of Quan texting and talking on her cell phone while driving last week.
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In Sunday's accident, Oakland police said Quan was driving alone in her SUV northbound on Market Street when her car collided with a Nissan going eastbound on 26th Street about 5:30 p.m.
At first, police said officer didn't know who was at fault. Officers later told the Oakland Tribune that a 36-year-old woman in the Nissan ran a red light and hit the left rear of Quan's car. Quan tweeted that the Nissan struck her left-rear tire.
But still, there are conflicting reports from witnesses about whether the mayor had the right of way. Two witnesses told NBC Bay Area the mayor ran a red light and may have been distracted behind the wheel.
"She was completely distracted," witness Margarett Randel said. "She was looking down. She was not looking at the road, so I don’t even think she noticed that the light had turned red."
The other witness was not as sure if Quan was distracted while driving.
"I don’t know if she had been distracted or not, but she blatantly hit the car," Thalis Ealy said. "She ran through the light...she ran a red light."
The mayor’s spokesman, Sean Maher, said the mayor was definitely not talking on her phone at the time of the collision.
“She was absolutely not on her phone," he said. "The mayor is going to be contacting her phone service provider to back that up with investigators.”
Cell phone video shows Quan in the moments after the crash, checking on the woman whose car she hit to make sure she, and the 14-year-old boy in the passenger seat, were not hurt. The mayor's spokesman also said Quan’s main concern was no one was injured.
The Nissan's driver, Lakisha Lovely, said her back hurt, and went to the hospital with her nephew as a precaution.
The mayor was not cited by police and was allowed to leave the scene of the crash.
Last Sunday, a picture emerged of what appeared to be Quan texting and driving, according to the Tribune. A day later, another picture made the rounds on social media of Quan holding a cellphone to her ear while driving.
Quan sent out these tweets about the accident:
This evening I was driving between two community events in West Oakland when another vehicle struck my left-rear tire. — Jean Quan (@jeanquan) June 9, 2014
I immediately pulled over & checked to make sure no one was hurt: it appeared everyone was all right & their wellbeing was my first priority — Jean Quan (@jeanquan) June 9, 2014
Police are investigating what led to the collision and I'm going to let them do their job and report out the details. — Jean Quan (@jeanquan) June 9, 2014
I am also submitting my phone records to the investigators, which will confirm that I was not on my phone at the time. — Jean Quan (@jeanquan) June 9, 2014
I'm grateful that no one has been reported injured. Please stay safe out there and look out for one another. — Jean Quan (@jeanquan) June 9, 2014