WASHINGTON — A local progressive political group is calling for the resignation of Prince George’s County Council member Mel Franklin after his arrest last week on drunken driving charges.
Jennifer Dwyer, the organizer with the Prince George’s County chapter of Progressive Maryland, said the arrest and the slew of charges Franklin is facing — including driving under the influence, driving while impaired, negligent driving and failure to avoid a crash — raise questions about his ability to do his job “and whether or not Councilman Franklin can continue to represent his constituents appropriately.”
Franklin is accused of crashing into a Mercedes stopped at a traffic light at Route 4 and Dower House Road near Forestville last week Nov. 21. According to Maryland State Police, Franklin was found outside the vehicle some distance from the crash site.
Dwyer said her group’s concerns come not only as a result of the November crash, but also reports that Franklin had been involved in other crashes involving county cars.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Franklin was involved in two previous crashes while driving county-issued vehicles: one in October of 2012 that resulted in $1,500 in damage and a second in December of the same year in which the county vehicle was totaled.
In that crash which was not reported to the public, Franklin reportedly slammed into a Yukon GMC. The Post reported that crash was the result of distracted driving and that Franklin was changing the radio station in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Franklin was not cited in the incident.
Franklin has been stripped of his access to county vehicles.
It’s not the first time a county council member has had that perk taken away. In 2011, then-Prince George’s County council member Leslie Johnson was forced to surrender her county car after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy and evidence tampering in a federal case tied to the corruption case surrounding her husband, former County Executive Jack Johnson.
In 2012, Council member Karen Toles, facing a charge of reckless driving, offered to surrender her access to county vehicles until she completed a “driver improvement course.” Instead, the council acted to bar her access to county vehicles according to a council statement “for her safety and the safety of others.”