License suspension called mix-up

Mayoral hopeful Stokes says speeding fine paid, but not on computer

June 25, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Two weeks ago, mayoral candidate Carl Stokes announced his campaign to walk across Baltimore. He might not have had a choice.

State motor vehicle records show that Stokes' license has been suspended for the past two weeks because he failed to pay a January speeding ticket. Despite the suspension being confirmed as active yesterday by a state Motor Vehicle Administration spokesman, Stokes was observed driving.

When he attended a luncheon at New Song Academy in West Baltimore to address a group of Habitat for Humanity workers, he arrived at the wheel of a green Toyota Camry. After being shown a printout of the driving records and suspension, Stokes disputed the records and said the matter has been resolved.

"I know the fine has been paid, and the matter has been taken care of," he said. "I mailed them the check."

Stokes produced his checkbook showing that he wrote a $70 check to the MVA on June 10. His bank confirmed that the check was cashed June 17.

Stokes, 49, was ticketed shortly after noon Jan. 23 on the 4700 block on N. Charles St. for traveling 47 mph in a 30 mph zone, according to the motor vehicles records.

On May 17, the state mailed Stokes a suspension letter for failing to appear in District Court on the matter.

His license was suspended June 8 for failing to appear in District Court, according to the records.

Stokes said he was turning the corner and could not have been traveling as fast as police said.

He said yesterday he initially intended to challenge the ticket but changed his mind.

"I thought showing up in court wouldn't be the best of things to do," he said. "It has been taken care of, and I don't know why they didn't put it in the computer."

When initially asked about the suspension on Wednesday evening, Stokes dismissed the matter, saying that it was related to his insurance expiring.

MVA spokesman Richard Scher said yesterday that Stokes' name has yet to be cleared by District Court, which contacts the motor vehicle agency daily.

"As of now, we have not gotten any notification from the District Court," Scher said.

Stokes' attorney, Curtis Anderson, said he will ensure that the license is reinstated today.

"These things happen to the people everyday," Anderson said. "As his attorney, I will handle getting his license reinstated [today]."

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