The woman who heads Chattanooga's Family Justice Center was cited for leaving the scene of a crash on Wednesday after she hit a motorcycle on North Market Street and drove away with one of the bike's handlebars stuck in her car door, according to police.
Valerie Radu is the director of Chattanooga's new Family Justice Center, designed to cater to victims of domestic violence by offering a variety of services — from legal advice to health care — under one roof near the Eastgate Town Center. Radu works closely with police as part of her position.
The crash happened around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday at 100 N. Market St., according to police. The driver of the motorcycle called officers after he was struck by a car that did not stop.
The 20-year-old motorcycle driver couldn't say exactly what had happened, but shortly after police responded to the wreck, other officers noticed a white Ford Taurus parked at the Police Services Center across town on Amnicola Highway.
The Taurus had a motorcycle handlebar wedged in the passenger side door, according to police. Officers pulled Radu out of her meeting with police, but when questioned, Radu said she had not realized she hit another vehicle.
"She said she felt a bump and thought that was strange," Officer Joseph Warren wrote in the report.
Warren said he did not believe Radu could have truly been unaware of the wreck and cited her for leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.
"Because of the location of the damage, starting with the front right fender and continuing down the side of her car, and based on my understanding of physics and the dynamics of a crash, I felt that she was well aware that she was involved in a crash and failed to report it or stop to render aid to the motorcyclist," the officer wrote.
The driver of the motorcycle was also cited for failing to yield the right of way. Radu did not return a message left on her cell phone by the Times Free Press.
The city's human resources department is investigating and may recommend disciplinary action against Radu, city spokeswoman Lacie Stone said. Radu was driving a city-owned vehicle during the crash.
Wednesday's crash is at least the second time Radu has wrecked in a city-owned vehicle. In March 2015, she caused almost $1,000 worth of damage to a city-owned 2012 Passat while driving somewhere outside Chattanooga.
It's unclear from city records obtained by the Times Free Press on Friday what happened in the March incident or whether Radu ever responded to multiple emailed requests for more information on the crash from city officials as they assessed the damage.
The city's garage charged $932.76 to replace the vehicle's hood.
Radu is the second woman to lead the Family Justice Center and was hired in August 2014, four months after the original director, Juanita Loundmonclay, was fired.
Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or email@example.com with tips or story ideas.