Baker’s son, aspiring politician, charged with driving on a suspended license

Rushern L. Baker IV, who is planning to run in 2014 for state delegate from Prince George’s County, was charged in late May with driving on a suspended license after he was stopped for speeding on northbound Route 4, court records show.

Baker, 25, the son of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) and his wife, Christa L. Beverly, is an artist employed by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the University of Maryland.

Baker was driving a Jeep about 6 p.m. May 28 when a state police trooper stopped him for driving 69 mph in a 55-mph zone on Route 4 near Ritchie Marlboro Road, court records show. A check by the trooper revealed that Baker’s Maryland driver’s license had been suspended for more than a year. Driving on a suspended license carries a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail, and as many as 12 points on a driving record.

Baker paid a $90 fine for speeding and said in an interview late Tuesday that he will attend a $200 driver training class on Saturday. No court date has been set for the suspended license charge, which is a misdemeanor, but Maryland law typically requires a court appearance.

Baker said he did not realize that his license had been suspended until theMay 28 traffic stop.

Maryland motor vehicle records show that the suspension occurred after Baker failed to complete payment for an Oct. 17, 2011, speeding ticket in Carneys Point, N.J., according to Philip A. Dacey, a spokesman for the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. Baker said that the ticket was for about $250 and that he “elected to pay in installments. I did not have money to pay the whole thing.” He said he thought that he had paid it in full, but Dacey said Maryland was notified by New Jersey in 2012 that Baker still owed on the ticket.

Dacey said the MVA notified Baker that his license would be suspended unless he settled the matter.

Maryland records show the state suspended Baker’s license March 16, 2012, after sending him a letter Jan. 31, 2012, telling him to clear up the overdue New Jersey payment or risk suspension in 45 days.

“He did not resolve it in time,” Dacey said.

Baker said he has no record of receiving the letter, although he said he was attending graduate school at Yale in New Haven, Conn., at the time. The letter was sent to his parents’ home in Cheverly, which was the address on his driver’s license.

He appeared in court in Carneys Point Dec. 5, 2012, which he said was to wrap up the New Jersey case. Maryland records show that Baker was ordered to pay a $56 fine and $283 in court costs, Dacey said.

Baker said that he thought that completed the case. He said he was unaware Maryland had suspended his license or that he needed to let the state know that the New Jersey matter was resolved.

“For us, it is a manual process,” Dacey said. “You have to bring in a receipt.”

On June 6, Baker showed a receipt to the MVA that said he had paid what he owed in New Jersey, Dacey said. He was then eligible to apply for a Maryland driver’s license, which was issued June 13, Dacey said.

But the charge of driving on a suspended license must be resolved in Maryland District Court, Dacey said.

Baker has been talking to potential supporters about his plans to run in the Democratic primary for one of the three delegate seats in District 22 in northwest Prince George’s. Two seats are held by veteran Dels. Tawanna P. Gaines (D) and Anne Healey (D), and the third is held by freshman Del. Alonzo T. Washington (D).

Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

Miranda Spivack writes about government and politics in the suburbs, based in the Post’s bureau in Largo in Prince George’s County.
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