Marion Barry racked up $2,800 in unpaid tickets before Saturday night crash

Marion Barry, the former mayor and current D.C. Council member, has racked up more than $2,800 in unpaid parking and speeding tickets on his Jaguar since 2012, according to city records.

The Washington Post reviewed the records on the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles Web site Monday, two days after Barry (D-Ward 8) was cited for numerous violations after a late-night collision on Pennsylvania Avenue SE.

The DMV Web site says that the District’s Department of Public Works boots or tows vehicles with two or more unpaid tickets more than 60 days old. Barry was allowed to keep driving his car despite owing the city for 21 separate tickets totaling $2,824.

Linda Grant, a spokeswoman for the DPW, said the tickets on Barry’s car issued by her department “were written overnight when our boot crews aren’t on duty.”

The crews are active between 6 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.


Between August 2013 and June 2014, Marion Barry accumulated eight $205 tickets for failing to display current tags on his vehicle. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

LaToya Foster, a spokeswoman for Barry, who is a diabetic, said a “hypoglycemic attack” was responsible for the 78-year-old council member’s collision near 28th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE about 9  p.m. Saturday. The crash put Barry in a hospital overnight. He was cited for driving the wrong way and a lack of registration and proof of insurance, police said, and his car remains impounded.

Foster did not respond to several subsequent inquiries about the outstanding tickets.

Between August 2013 and June 2014, Barry garnered eight $205 tickets for failing to display current tags — a citation often written for vehicles found with an expired registration sticker. One of those tickets was written at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, the address of the John A. Wilson Building, the District’s city hall.

As recently as Thursday, the vehicle was cited for obstructing a fire hydrant — the second such offense listed. And on July 23, the car was cited for being improperly parked in an “official space” outside the Frank D. Reeves Center on U Street NW. Barry attended a council hearing in the building that night.

Council members have special plates and are exempt from some parking regulations while on official business, but they must not park “in violation of a loading zone, rush hour, firehouse, or fire plug limitation.”

There is no exemption for moving violations. The records show Barry’s car traveling 11 to 15 mph over the speed limit on five occasions between February 2012 and July 2013. It was cited for running a red light in October 2012.

Lucinda Babers, director of the DMV, confirmed that Barry’s car, a 2002 Jaguar X-Type, is not currently registered with the city. She said she had no reason to doubt the accuracy of records produced by entering the Jaguar’s plate number — visible in published photographs of the accident Saturday — into the department’s online ticket database.

Barry has had numerous mishaps and run-ins with the Jaguar, which he acquired in 2010. Shortly afterward, it was stolen from a street in his home ward after he reportedly left the keys in the ignition. The car was found nearby three days later. In March 2011, the Jaguar was booted after racking up nine unpaid parking tickets totaling $705 in fines. Barry told a WJLA-TV reporter it was “no big thing” and paid up to free the boot.

Later that month, the Post reported that Barry had been driving the car on “inactive” D.C. license plates. He blamed a paperwork issue with his car dealer on New York Avenue NE, and the car was subsequently registered.

A few months later, a reporter spotted Barry driving the Jaguar with its rear bumper dragging across the pavement in front of the Wilson Building. A hit-and-run driver had smashed into the car while it was parked near his home, Barry said.

While Barry’s camp was mum on the tickets Monday, Barry himself directed a critical tweet at the D.C. police: “So instead of protecting people, I’m advised that @DCPoliceDept called news media to come film my hypoglycemic attack & accident? Sad.”

WTTG-TV aired footage from the scene of the Saturday crash, including photos of the Jaguar.

Gwendolyn Crump, communications director for the police, said such a media alert would violate Metropolitan Police Department policy. “If someone has information about an MPD officer violating policy, we will investigate it,” she said in an e-mail. “Our Public Information Office did however respond to specific media inquiries, as usual, with general information.”

The tweet was deleted from Barry’s account later Monday.

Peter Hermann contributed to this report.

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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