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Posted at 05:18 PM ET, 03/02/2012

Prince George’s Council prohibits councilwoman from using county-owned vehicles


Councilwoman Karen Toles (Mark Gail - The Washington Post)
A Prince George’s County councilwoman, who apparently drove more than 100 miles per hour on the Capital Beltway last month, can not drive or have access to a county-owned vehicle until at least a police investigation is completed.

Earlier this week, Councilwoman Karen R. Toles (D-Suitland) apologized for her actions and volunteered to give up her county-issued Ford Edge until she finishes a driver improvement course. But the Council issued a statement Friday that Toles will be denied access to her vehicle until further notice.

“The County Council supports [Toles’] decision, however, until this matter is resolved, we have agreed that Council member Toles will have no use of or access to a county assigned vehicle for her safety and the safety of others,” Council Chair Andrea Harrison said in a statement.

Police said Toles was traveling southbound on the Capital Beltway on Feb. 22 when an officer had to drive a speed in excess of 100 miles per hour to catch up with her vehicle.

Law enforcement officials have said the Edge veered across several lanes of traffic as it drove toward the exit for Branch Avenue.

The officer pursued Toles with his lights flashing and sirens blaring, according to law enforcement officials. When the officer finally reached her vehicle at Branch Avenue and Auth Road, she drove away, apparently unaware of the pursuit.

When the officer eventually stopped Toles at the intersection of Branch Avenue and St. Barnabas Road, law enforcement officials said, she vigorously identified herself as a councilwoman to the officers on the scene. She was cited for changing lanes and issued a warning for speeding.

“I believe moving violations are serious matters,” Toles wrote in a statement earlier this week. “I take full responsibility for my actions, and I apologize to my constituents, my County Council colleagues, and Prince George’s County.”

Toles said in a previously issued statement that she was late for an appointment the day she was pulled over and plans to pay the fine.

Online court records show Toles, who has been active in pushing public safety legislation, has previous motor vehicle violations, including tickets for unsafe lane changing and driving off the roadway while passing a vehicle.

By  |  05:18 PM ET, 03/02/2012

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