- The Washington Times - Friday, May 12, 2006

D.C. Council member Marion Barry failed a field sobriety test early yesterday after a minor traffic accident, but was released by police after passing a Breathalyzer test at a police station, police source said.

Mr. Barry, 70, was “escorted” in a police cruiser to the First Police District station in Southeast after failing a field sobriety test, a police source said.

“But he passed the Breathalyzer test and was released,” the source said.

Mr. Barry, a former four-term mayor, has a history of substance abuse and as recently as November tested positive for cocaine and marijuana use under a plea arrangement for income tax evasion.

No one was injured in the accident, which occurred about midnight in the 1000 block of First Street Southeast, according to a police report.

Mr. Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, pulled his 1990 Mercedes Benz out of a parking spot into the path of an oncoming 1999 Jeep Cherokee carrying three persons, according to the report.

The Jeep struck the Mercedes at about 25 mph, causing Mr. Barry’s car to hit a parked 1993 Saab.

The Jeep’s driver, Heidi R. Cineco of Silver Spring, said Mr. Barry showed a lack of caution when he entered the roadway, according to the report.

Mr. Barry was given a $50 citation for failing to yield the right of way.

No estimates of the vehicles’ damage were available yesterday. Mr. Barry’s Mercedes was damaged on the front left side and on the right side; the Jeep was damaged on the front right side.

Mr. Barry’s chief of staff, E. Faye Williams, confirmed that Mr. Barry had been involved in an accident, but did not know he had failed a field sobriety test.

“No one was injured. I’ve spoken with Mr. Barry and he’s at home, so he wasn’t arrested,” Ms. Williams said.

In a press release, Ms. Williams said Mr. Barry “submitted to a sobriety test, which indicated he was not impaired.”

Authorities said the accident does not violate the terms of a plea agreement requiring Mr. Barry to remain drug-free and submit to periodic drug tests.

Mr. Barry was sentenced March 9 to three years of probation and ordered to pay almost $250,000 in delinquent taxes and interest for failing to file federal and city returns in 2000. Under the plea deal, he also acknowledged failing to file returns in 1999 and from 2001 to 2004.

In 1990, while serving as mayor, he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine during a federal drug sting and was arrested for cocaine use and possession. He resigned and was sentenced to six months in prison on a misdemeanor charge.

He ran for the D.C. Council two years later and was elected, then was elected again as mayor in 1994 and served until 1999.

In 2002, during another run for the council, U.S. Park Police found small amounts of marijuana and cocaine in Mr. Barry’s car. His car in that incident was parked near the same area where yesterday’s accident occurred.

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