Prince George's Councilman Mel Franklin attends first meeting since DUI charge

- The Prince George’s County Council voted Tuesday to adopt new oversight measures after police say a councilman caused a DUI crash while driving a county car.

Council member Mel Franklin voted in favor of the measure inspired by the criminal charges he’s now facing. It would create a three citizen board that would review current policies on county-assigned vehicles.

Franklin is accused of driving drunk and rear-ending a car, injuring the two people inside. Police say Franklin walked away from the scene following the crash on Nov. 21. Franklin has also been involved in at least two other accidents while driving county vehicles.

Franklin refused to speak to the media Tuesday and was not part of a press conference following the council meeting.

Council Chair Derrick Leon Davis said the new committee governing county-assigned cars would have authority to suspend a council member’s car privileges and put together an annual report on council members’ use of county cars.

“We will put together a panel of citizens who understand these types of things  who will look at our current roles, look at current situations, look at all of the data that is out there and make some recommendations to us as council about how we should operate in the future,” Davis said.

He was asked why council members have take-home cars in the first place.

“I will tell you that this is a very big county,” he said. “The wear and tear on your personal vehicle is enormous.”

Some in the community have called for Franklin to resign, or at the least, be stripped of his council committee assignments.

A representative from a group called Progressive Prince George’s delivered letters to council members Tuesday making those requests.

“This is not the first time that he's damaged county vehicles and, in this instance, two lives were put in jeopardy due to reckless behavior,” said Larry Stafford, who delivered the letters. “We need our local elected officials to be held accountable.”

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