Former Washington D.C. mayor, current D.C. city council member and current Mayor For Life Marion Barry is in some hot water with the government of the city he represents over a couple unpaid parking and speeding citations. And by "a couple," I mean "$2,800 worth."
D.C.'s WJLA reports Barry has racked up a total of 21 tickets since 2012 in his silver 2002 Jaguar X-Type. Barry crashed that car Saturday night, putting him in the hospital and leading police to impound the car on charges that the ex-mayor was driving the wrong way and lacked a registration and proof of insurance.
This led local reporters to dig up his traffic record, which revealed about $2,800 in unpaid parking tickets, speeding tickets and other fines in the District over a two year span.
Eight of Barry's tickets are for a failure to display current tags. The former mayor also has five outstanding speeding violations as well as tickets for parking too close to a fire hydrant and blocking a loading zone.
And the Washington Post reports that the car has been a source of constant comical misadventures for the council member:
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.
One may wonder how Barry went so long without his car being impounded, towed or booted by city officials. The first answer is that the government of D.C. is woefully incompetent at everything, incapable of completing even the simplest of tasks. You ever been to the D.C. DMV? I have. It's hell on earth, basically.
The other answer is that all of Barry's tickets were issued overnight, outside the hours when boot crews operate. So, yeah... maybe we can file that under incompetence, too.
Council members in D.C. have special plates that exempt them from some regulations during certain times, but not all, and certainly not speeding tickets.
Barry has been on and off D.C.'s council since 1979, including two stints as mayor. To people outside the District, he is most famous for his 1990 arrest by the FBI on drug charges after being videotaped smoking crack cocaine.
Still, he remains a hero to many in the city, especially because of his involvement in the Civil Rights movement; it's unlikely his terrible driving habits will change that.
Photo credit AP