Streeter’s traffic woes

A weekend trip to Manchester in October for Mayor Bernie Streeter resulted in an embarrassing string of headlines.

What was first believed to a minor fender-bender between Streeter, driving a city-leased sedan, and a Manchester cabbie, landed Streeter’s police booking photo in local newspapers.

Authorities in the Queen City charged the 69-year-old Streeter with a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to a year in jail. The offense was leaving the scene of a traffic accident. Streeter surrendered himself at the Manchester Police Department and was booked on the charge.

The collision took place at the intersection of Pine and Central streets in downtown Manchester. Driving a city-leased 2002 Ford Crown Victoria, Streeter made a left turn onto Central from the right lane of Pine, a two-lane, one-way street, police said. He collided with a cab that was in the left lane of Pine Street.

The cab driver told police that Streeter cursed at him, pointed out the government plate on his car, and said, “Do you know who I am?” according to police reports summarizing the cabbie’s account.

Police said Streeter showed up at the station after he discovered his car had been towed from a private parking lot, where he had parked after the collision. He asked if it is customary to tow cars with government plates, according to the police report.

The mayor paid for the $37.18 repair to his official car.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for later this week in Manchester District Court.

City aldermen at first steered clear of the incident, letting the judicial system handle it. But since the crash, aldermen have submitted four pieces of legislation, three of which would restrict the use of city vehicles, including for the mayor, and one that would require all city-owned vehicles to be identified with the city seal. An aldermanic committee has approved the latter proposal.

The incident wasn’t Streeter’s only encounter with police in 2004.

Nashua police investigated a claim that Streeter had violated city campaign finance law by missing a deadline to account for contributions by 48 days.

Police concluded Streeter had violated the law. However, investigators failed to make a deadline, completing their investigation several months after the three-month statute of limitation for violations, so no action was taken.