PG county, Md. councilwoman given warning after driving 50 mph over speed limit

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Prince George’s County Council member Karen Toles was given a slap on the wrist last week after being stopped for driving 105 miles per hour, a full 50 miles per hour over the posted limit.

Exceeding the speed limit is punishable in Maryland with a fine of up to $500. If a driver is caught going more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, it typically results in a five-point penalty on a driver’s record — with eight points yielding a license suspension.

Reckless driving, which Toles could also likely be charged with, would also result in a five-point penalty and a hefty fine.

Fortunately for Toles, she was given only a warning for her latest speeding infraction, though she was also handed a $90 fine for making an unsafe lane change.

Toles released a statement Wednesday, claiming that she would take “full responsibility for my actions,” adding, “In addition to paying the appropriate fine, I will not be driving a county owned vehicle until voluntarily completing a driver improvement course.”

The local government of Prince George’s County — which brackets the eastern part of Washington, D.C. — is infamous for corruption. In 2010, then- County Executive Jack Johnson was arrested by the FBI for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. His wife, Leslie, initially refused to step down as a county councilwoman after also being arrested in the raid, even though she was found attempting to stuff tens of thousands of dollars into her bra.

The county police department now claims that the speedometer of the police cruiser used to apprehend Toles wasn’t calibrated to achieve an accurate reading and “did not have enough time and space to establish a pace of the car.”

Perhaps looking to avoid increased scrutiny of public corruption in the county, the police department announced an investigation into the affair, according to WTOP. The radio station reports that Toles has been cited for five previous driving infractions since 2009.

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Steven Nelson