WASHINGTON — A member of the Prince George’s County Council was arrested early last week and charged with driving under the influence after crashing his county vehicle into another car and briefly leaving the scene on foot, Maryland State Police said in a statement Wednesday.
Jamel Franklin, 40, who has served on the council since 2011, rear-ended a 2007 Mercedes that was stopped at a traffic light on Route 4 near Upper Marlboro at about 11:30 p.m. Nov. 21, state police spokesman Greg Shipley said in the statement.
At the time, Franklin was driving a 2008 Ford Explorer that was registered to Prince George’s County, according to state police.
An Upper Marlboro couple who were in the Mercedes were both injured in the crash and were transported by ambulance to Prince George’s hospital for treatment.
Police say Franklin had wandered away from the crash scene on foot before troopers arrived. Troopers said they spotted Franklin walking in the center median about 70 yards away from the crash scene and appeared to be heading back toward the crash. Police said troopers “noted signs of possible impairment” and that a further investigation led to his arrest for driving under the influence.
In addition to driving under the influence, Franklin faces charges of driving while impaired, negligent driving and failure to control speed to avoid a collision.
Shipley said state police are continuing with their investigation and would be consulting with the Prince George’s State’s Attorney’s Office about possible additional charges.
Franklin, who goes by “Mel,” represents District 9 in the southern end of the county, which includes Accokeek and Fort Washington. Franklin, who had previously served as chair of the council, was re-elected to a second four-year term in 2014. He currently serves as the chair of the Public Safety and Fiscal Management Committee.
Franklin is being represented by Theresa Moore, an attorney in Upper Marlboro. In a statement provided to WTOP, Moore said “this is a legal matter and these issues will be addressed in court.”
In a statement released Wednesday evening, Prince George’s County Council Chair Derrick Davis said Franklin has “relinquished the use of his county vehicle and no longer has use of our access to any county-issued vehicle.”
Christine Murphy, an attorney with Jaklitsch Law Group in Upper Marlboro, is representing the injured couple in the Mercedes, identified by Maryland State Police as Matthew and Teresa Collins.
Murphy told ABC 7 the Collins’ were coming home from a date night in D.C. when the crash occurred. Their Mercedes was totaled.
“The rear end of the car is basically gone,” Murphy told ABC7.
She said the couple is still recovering from “significant” injuries.
WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.