Late last week we wrote about P.G. County, Maryland Councilwoman, Karen Toles flight from police on the DC beltway. On february 222, apparently on her way to an official function of some kind, Toles was observed by Prince George’s County police officer driving at speeds of over 100 miles per hour in her county-owned SUV. Toles did not initially pull over for the officer and, upon finally doing so, she was understandably approached with guns drawn and in full caution by the officer.
According to reports from the scene, Toles loudly and repeatedly asserted her status as a county official and in the end she walked away from the traffic stop with a warning and a minor citation for inappropriate lane change. The seemingly light penalty drew significant media attention to the police response, many suggesting that because of her county government position Toles was let off easy. Prince George’s County Assistant Police Chief Kevin Davis, on the other hand, indicated that everything about the stop was handled by the book.
His explanation: because the officer at the scene was not equipped with a radar gun and because his vehicle’s speedometer was not certified for accuracy the only evidence for Toles’s speeding was the patrol car’s dashboard camera. The officer, according to police, also spent most of his time in pursuit of Toles vehicle and was not able to adequate “pace” her SUV to make an accurate evaluation of her speed. Yet even with these caveats in mind, one imagines that you or I might have quite reasonably found ourselves in serious trouble if were involved in a similar high speed chase on the beltway.
With heavy media scrutiny, the light touch for Councilwoman Toles didn’t last long. On Tuesday, an executive review panel recommended that she be issued reckless driving citation. Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark McGaw hand-delivered the citation. Luckily for Toles reckless driving charges in Maryland don’t pack nearly the wallop they do in Virginia. She was cited for a $510 fine and might receive up to six points on her driver’s license.
According to CBS, Councilwoman Toles has received six traffic violations in Maryland since 2009, including failing to have children properly restrained on more than one occasion, passing a car on the shoulder as well as a previous “unsafe lane change.” Given this already spotty driving record, Toles may even face revocation of her driving privileges. Toles had been carrying two demerit points on her drivers license, relating to past infractions. With the reckess driving and unsafe lane change charges, Toles could receive an additional eight points, which could put her on the bubble for the suspension of her license.