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Karen Toles, Prince George's County Council Member, Gets Only Warning After 105 MPH Pursuit

7:31 AM, Mar 1, 2012   |    comments
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PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. (WUSA) -- The Prince George's County Council Member warned for driving as fast as 105 mph on the Capital Beltway announced Wednesday that she will not drive her county-issued Ford Edge until she has voluntarily completed a driver improvement course.

The announcement by District 7 Councilmember Karen R. Toles was made in a written statement.

Meanwhile, county police said they will review the February 22nd incident to assure that Toles was not treated differently by police because of her position.  The review will include input from the department's Inspector General.

Toles received only a warning for the suspected speeding, although she was issued a $90 citation for an unsafe lane change after police pursued her 3 miles after first spotting her on the inner loop of the Beltway near Branch Ave. at noon on the day of the incident.

"Preliminarily, we do not believe this police officer afforded anyone any special treatment," said Assistant Police Chief Kevin Davis.

Davis explained that the 14-year veteran officer who witnessed the incident issued a warning because he may not have enough evidence to withstand a trial.  The officer's car was not equipped with radar and he was unable to "pace" Toles accurately before she exited the Beltway onto Branch Ave., Davis said.

However, Davis confirmed an in-car video camera recorded the officers speed at between 105 and 108 miles per hour as the officer pursued the Council member.   A number of police cruisers were involved in the eventual traffic stop, which occurred on Branch Ave. about 3 miles from where Toles was first spotted driving at allegedly high speed.

Earlier in the day at a public event at Iverson Mall, Toles refused to answer questions from 9News Now and fled from cameras to a security office. 

In written statements, Toles has apologized for the driving incident saying: "On February 22 I received a citation for an unsafe lane change and a warning for speeding. I was leaving a meeting and was late for my next appointment. I consider moving violations serious matters and I regret the incident. I intend to pay the appropriate fine for these traffic violations."

In a previous news release police stated: "The issuance of a warning citation for the speed is consistent with the typical discretion applied by police officers to speeding motorists. The traffic violations were captured on the police officer's in-car camera, and the incident will be subject to command review. At the moment, the video is evidence in a pending District Court traffic case, and will not be released," the police statement said. 

Toles' history of traffic troubles includes citations for "driving off a roadway while passing another vehicle" in September of 2010 and an unsafe lane change citation in March of 2010, according to online court records.

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