At least three tickets for traffic violations have been prepared — but not yet issued — in the Capitol Police investigation into Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s (D-R.I.) car accident on Capitol Hill early Thursday morning, and more could be on the way.
As of Monday evening, Capitol Police investigators, along with the officer who originally responded, had yet to complete their investigation into the accident. But so far tickets for speeding, failure to stay in the proper lane and failure to give full attention to the operation of a vehicle have been prepared.
According to Robin Costello, Kennedy’s spokeswoman, those tickets total $80 in fines. Costello said Kennedy had not announced whether he will contest any tickets from the incident.
In an interview late Friday, acting Capitol Police Chief Christopher McGaffin said Kennedy “has not received those tickets and won’t until we complete the investigation. They are pending right now until we finish the full investigation and wrap it all up, and if there are any more tickets to be issued they’d all have the same court date and that sort of thing. ... If there are other charges that could come out of the continuing investigation they’d all be presented at the same time.”
McGaffin also personally conducted an internal investigation into police handling of the accident after police union officials complained Thursday that officers on the scene were ordered to give Kennedy preferential treatment after the incident.
On Monday, the Capitol Police labor committee released a statement that read in part, “It is our desire that the men and women of the United States Capitol Police be allowed to perform their duties and responsibilities without fear of reprisals or to curry favor with anyone.”
McGaffin said he had found that the investigation into the incident was improperly delayed due to “poor judgment” on the part of police managers on duty that evening. McGaffin faulted the managers for making the decision not to allow the responding officer to follow standard procedures and conduct a field sobriety test on the Congressman. He added that “significant administrative and personnel corrective action has been taken in response to the managers’ decision making.”
McGaffin said Friday the investigation into the accident itself should be completed “within days. This need not linger.”
Kennedy, who blamed the crash on the interaction between two medications he had been prescribed, left Washington, D.C., on Friday afternoon for the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to seek treatment for addiction to pain medication. He checked in sometime around 9 p.m. Friday.
Kennedy said in a news conference before leaving Washington that he had spent time at the Mayo Clinic over the January recess for the same treatment.
Costello said that Kennedy’s last stint at the clinic had lasted three weeks and “right now the length of time he’ll be there is hard to determine. It would be something that the Congressman and his doctors determine together.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.