Speeding councilwoman to take driving course, give up county car

WASHINGTON – A Prince George’s County councilmember stopped for speeding released a second statement Wednesday after receiving some public criticism.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and I apologize to my constituents, my County Council colleagues, and Prince George’s County,” Karen Toles wrote. “In addition to paying the appropriate fine, I will not be driving a county owned vehicle until voluntarily completing a driver improvement course to ensure my safety and the safety of others.”

Toles was issued a warning for the speeding infraction last week, but did receive a $90 violation for an unsafe lane change. Police said Tuesday that a warning is consistent with the discretion officers have in handling speeding motorists.

Assistant Police Chief Kevin Davis says 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.

In the latest incident in early September of 2010, Toles was cited for leaving the roadway while trying to pass a vehicle on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Beltway. She was fined $110 in April 2011, plus another $40 for failing to display her registration card as requested by an officer.

Police will convene an executive review panel next week to investigate the traffic stop. That panel will be made up of a number of high-ranking officers, including the department’s inspector general and a number of deputy chiefs and commanders. That panel will report its findings to Chief Mark 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 Andrew Mollenbeck, Nathan Hager and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Andrew. Nathan and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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