Mayor involved in wreck in city-leased vehicle for second time in 2 years

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For the second time in as many years, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard has been involved in a minor accident in a city-leased vehicle.

Mayor Jim Brainard

Mayor Jim Brainard

A crash report from the Carmel Police Dept. states that the accident occurred at 2:44 p.m. Dec. 15 as Brainard traveled westbound on Main Street. It states that as he began a U-turn near Knoll Court the front bumper of his white Ford Fusion struck the front passenger door area of a red Chevrolet Tracker that was also traveling westbound. The Fusion was towed because of disabling damage, according to the police report. No one was injured in the accident.  

Brainard had been giving a tour of the city to a film crew who planned to shoot footage at the Christkindlmarkt when the wreck occurred, Carmel spokesman Dan McFeely said. One of his passengers told police that the Tracker approached “very fast” and attempted to pass on the left as Brainard initiated the U-turn just before the accident.

The two drivers pulled over and briefly met after the crash, the police report states. The driver of the Tracker provided what appears to be a fictitious name and phone number, and he left before police arrived on the scene. Police have been unable to locate him.

The police report lists the primary cause of the accident as Brainard’s failure to yield.  

“The mayor is claiming that the (driver) ignored the double yellow line and tried to get around him,” McFeely said. “The mayor didn’t realize that he was going to speed up and try and pass him, and that’s how the accident happened. My guess is the mayor doesn’t feel he was at fault, that it was simply an accident.”

Police did not administer a blood alcohol test on the scene because there was no indication the mayor was impaired. However Brainard voluntarily submitted to a blood alcohol test at the city’s health center which showed no alcohol in his system. Carmel requires city employees to submit to blood alcohol tests after accidents that lead to a city vehicle being towed. Because Brainard is an elected official and not an employee, he is exempt. 

“He wanted to make sure that even though he’s not an employee and didn’t have to submit to it, he decided he wanted to do it anyway,” McFeely said. “It was voluntary and he was not drinking.”

McFeely said the city does not know if the car is totaled. The police report lists damages at $2,501 to $5,000.

Brainard was involved in a two-vehicle accident in April 2017 when his car crossed the center lane and struck a trailer being pulled by a pickup truck. He told police at the time of the crash that he was feeling fatigued.

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