SEABROOK – County Councilman Mel Franklin has received probation before judgement (PBJ) and paid a fine to resolve charges related to a drunken driving accident in November.
Franklin paid a $645 fine for “driving while impaired” and “failure to maintain control of vehicle speed on a highway to avoid collision” for a November 21 accident in which Franklin- driving a county-owned Ford Explorer- ran into the back of another vehicle that was stopped at a red light on MD Route 4 and Dower House Road.
Probation before judgement allows Franklin to continue without a conviction on their record but makes him subject to probation. He could face the full, original charge if he violates that probation. PBJ is offered to certain first-time offenders for crimes including DUI/DWI.
The councilman, who represents District 9, issued a news release about the outcome of the case that also said Franklin enrolled in the Maryland Ignition Interlock Program- which requires a blood alcohol content of 0.00 as measured through a person’s breath before the vehicle will start- and a 12-week alcohol education program.
“I am deeply sorry to Mr. and Mrs. Collins (the people in the car he hit) and take full responsibility for the November 2016 car accident,” Franklin said in a statement. “That evening, I let down both Mr. and Mrs. Collins and all of the residents who look to me for leadership and responsibility. I must now begin the hard and necessary work of earning back their trust and forgiveness.”
He also said he hoped other county residents would “learn greater caution in their busy lives from my poor judgment.”
“With new ride sharing options like Uber and Lyft at the touch of your fingertips or the traditional options of taxi service or designated drivers, there just is no excuse for getting behind the wheel of a vehicle when you are not in proper condition to drive,” Franklin said.
Following the accident, Franklin’s use of and access to county-owned vehicles was revoked. The county council also formed the Vehicle Use Review Board to study county vehicle-use policies in general and offer recommendations. These recommendations are projected to be submitted no later than June 30.