Finch has tough words for bad drivers, just not Rep. Ayala

Last August Christina Ayala, 29, a Democrat running for the House of Representatives, was fresh off of winning the party primary (which in Democrat-dominated Bridgeport means she also won the general election) when she blew through a traffic light, hit another car, left the scene and was arrested for a hit-and-run collision.

It was the kind of thing that perhaps in other municipalities might have ended Ayala’s career.

But in Bridgeport Democratic leaders like Chairman Mario Testa and Ayala’s father, Tito, either made excuses for Christina or, in the case of Mayor Bill Finch, declined to say anything.

When I asked Finch at the time if Ayala should exit the race for the Legislature, he said: “I don’t have any comment on that.”

But last week an emotional Finch issued a public plea for motorists to drive more carefully in the wake of three recent hit-and-run accidents in Bridgeport. All involved children. The two that caused very serious injuries remain open.

“We know people are not stopping at stop signs and traffic lights,” the mayor said following the June 3 City Council meeting. He also said motorists who follow the speed limit force the cars behind them to do so as well.

Finch recalled his recent visit with 6-year-old Diamond Battle, who, with her aunt, was struck down along Washington Avenue on Memorial Day.

“I don’t want to have to go visit any more children in the hospital, struggling for their life,” the mayor said.

He said he wanted the perpetrators caught soon, “And we can make an example of them.”

Jump ahead one week.

On Tuesday Ayala was sentenced. She was fined $350 and lost her license for a month. Luckily for her the General Assembly’s 2013 session in Hartford adjourned June 5.

Considering his impassioned plea last week, I reached out to Finch on Tuesday evening for a reaction.

“Mayor Finch has no comment on this case,” the mayor’s spokeswoman, Elaine Ficarra, wrote in an email.


Brian Lockhart