WASHINGTON – The Maryland councilmember fined for reckless driving and an unsafe lane change on the Beltway says she regrets “the events that have transpired which have proven to be a distraction.”
Speaking at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Karen Toles asked the public to “reserve judgment and allow the legal process to run its course.”
“I take the charges pending against me very seriously, and my attorneys currently have this matter under review,” she said at a news conference.
Earlier this week, Toles was issued a citation for driving recklessly after she was stopped by a Prince George’s County police officer a few weeks ago.
She originally received a $90 ticket for an unsafe lane change on Feb. 22. Then on Tuesday, Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark McGaw hand-delivered Toles a citation, which carries a $510 fine and up to six points on her license.
She accepted the citation from McGaw at her attorney’s office.
“It’s a serious offense. It’s a willfull wanton disregard for safety in her driving,” McGaw said.
The review panel concluded that the police officer who stopped Toles for speeding on Feb. 22 acted appropriately when he did not issue her a citation for speeding. However, the panel said Tuesday a second citation was warranted.
“The officer on the scene did not make a mistake he did an outstanding job,” McGaw said. “But as we looked at all the evidence, the recommendation that came from the ERP was reckless driving and that’s what she was issued today.”
Assistant Police Chief Kevin Davis said after the incident the speedometer on the officer’s cruiser was not calibrated to measure Toles’s speed, and was not equipped with radar. The officer could not establish whether Toles was driving at triple-digit speeds, as was previously reported.
The cruiser’s speedometer, however, did show that he needed to drive 105 mph to catch up with her.
“The police officer did not have enough time and space to establish a pace of the car that he eventually pulled over,” Davis said.
Maryland court records show Toles has been cited for traffic violations five previous times since 2009, and has faced fines totaling $225.
One case, involving driving without license plates, was thrown out. Two cases involved driving without a seat belt. Two others involved unsafe lane changes.
The panel was made up of a number of high-ranking officers, including the department’s inspector general and a number of deputy chiefs and commanders. The findings were reported to Magaw.
Toles represents the areas of Capitol Heights, District Heights, Hillcrest Heights, Marlow Heights, Seat Pleasant, Suitland, Temple Hills and portions of Forestville and Oxon Hill.
WTOP’s Mark Segraves and Michelle Basch contributed to this report.