WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Online records show more than $12,000 in unpaid speed camera tickets for the Lexus involved in the deadly crash Wednesday on Rock Creek Parkway in D.C.
The Lexus SUV that sped away from police had 44 speeding and red light tickets since May 2022.
Just two outstanding tickets can get your car booted, but that often doesn’t happen.
U.S. Park Police said the crash that left three people dead on Rock Creek Parkway started when the Lexus SUV sped away from them early Wednesday morning.
It’s not known why Park Police pulled them over, but DMV records showed that the car has $12,300 in unpaid tickets.
“Moving traffic ticket violations are civil in nature. They’re quasi-criminal but they’re not necessarily processed as criminal infractions,” said Dionna Maria Lewis, president of the Washington Bar Association and managing attorney of District Legal Group.
Lewis said it’s not uncommon to find cars in the district with thousands in unpaid fines.
“Because of all the appeals options and opportunities that motorists in the district have, that’s a part of the reason why you may find these cars and vehicles driving around the city with these really high-level fines,” Lewis said.
She says you can’t be pulled over just for having unpaid tickets. The District can boot cars with unpaid tickets when they find them, but part of the problem is priority and part of the problem is a resource issue.
“You need bodies, you need the mechanisms and resources in place to remove these vehicles and then to impound them,” Lewis said. “And I just don’t think that here in the District we have the capacity really to uphold that policy that exists.”
Lewis says the next step is figuring out who gets charged and with what.
Speed cameras only capture license plates, not who’s driving, but “there’s an argument to be made that if you can say that these tickets were attributed to the offending motorist, that those could be factors and circumstances that enhance the penalty that would be requested,” Lewis said.
A woman in the Lexus was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, while the man is expected to be OK.
Park Police still have not said who was driving.