Harry Thomas Jr.: Speeding Ticket Scofflaw?
If D.C. Council chairman and mayoral candidate Vincent Gray is in a bit of trouble for an outstanding Maryland ticket from 2002, Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. may be really in for it. According to Maryland court records, Thomas has earned himself five speeding tickets in the Old Line State—none of which have been paid. Online records indicate that in each case, Thomas failed to appear in court to resolve the ticket, and also failed to pay the fines.
The court records show Thomas, who is seeking re-election this year, had quite the lead foot in his younger days. He received speeding tickets in Prince George's County on April 1, 1985; on March 18, 1986; and on Oct. 15, 1992. He also received a ticket in Anne Arundel County in 1985, and one in Montgomery County in 1991.
The 1986 P.G. County instance was the most egregious: Thomas was accused of going 64 on the 7200 block of North H Avenue, where the speed limit was 35. The heftiest fine Thomas incurred as a result of his zooming was $50, but Angelita Plemmer, a court spokeswoman, says he likely owes more now, as the fines racked up late fees. She was not able to ascertain whether—like Gray—Thomas's license had been suspended in Maryland. The words "failure to appear suspension" do appear on four of the citation records. Officer Evan Baxter of the Price George's County Police says that means "the defendant has failed to appear and his driving privileges have been suspended."
Contacted by City Desk Thursday, Thomas said he has no idea why the citations are still marked as active. He insisted he paid the tickets a long time ago. "It has to be an administrative error," he said. Besides, he said, "the statue of limitation has probably run out on them."
But Thomas does vaguely remember getting the long-ago reprimands: "Some of them I got when I was commuting to Bowie State University." In a 1985 citation, his vehicle tag is recorded as "SAVVY". Thomas says he remembers getting that vanity plate put on a 1972 Datsun he once drove. Back then, he was working for Marion Barry, and decided he liked the word when a journalist used it to describe his boss.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery