PCP Possession Penalty Could Increase in D.C.

Mother of three's recent death has PCP ties, police say

By Jim Iovino
|  Monday, Dec 28, 2009  |  Updated 11:32 AM EDT
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PCP Possession Penalty Could Increase in D.C.

Jackie Bensen, NBCWashington.com

The D.C. City Council is considering a bill that would toughen penalties for PCP possession.

Possession of PCP in any form is currently a misdemeanor under D.C. law. A bill drafted by Councilman Phil Mendelson would make possession of liquid PCP a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Mendelson said currently it is difficult for prosecutors to get a conviction in a liquid PCP case because the quantity is so small that juries are not inclined to convict.

Mendelson said PCP causes dangerous and erratic behavior. The Examiner points to the death of Mary Jones as an example.

The 50-year-old mother of three was waiting for a bus Tuesday evening in Southeast when she "was crushed by a speeding sedan driven by a Maryland man allegedly high on PCP," according to the Examiner. Police said that man was Glendale Ogburn, 33, of Forestville, Md.

Jones, a mother of three, was standing at a bus stop on the 4100 block of Southern Avenue when police said she was struck by a 1993 Cadillac Deville, driven by Ogburn at an estimated 50 mph -- twice the posted speed limit. There was no evidence, according to police, that Ogburn tried to brake or steer away from the bus stop as he drove in a straight line down the sidewalk.

A passenger in Ogburn's car, 30-year-old Frederick Tyrone Stewart, of Rockville, was charged with assault on a police officer and possession of marijuana. Both Ogburn and Stewart smelled of PCP, police said in charging documents.

Ogburn has a lengthy criminal history, especially in Maryland, where he has faced charges for drug possession, theft, handgun possession, driving an unregistered vehicle and resisting arrest.

While tougher penalties might not have prevented Jones' death, they cannot hurt. Kudos to Mendelson (as well as Council members David Catania, Kwame Brown, Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans and Jim Graham, who co-introduced it) for addressing an issue many probably haven't even thought about.

Click here to read the bill.

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