A Haltom City councilman — and former mayor of the town — called himself “dumb” and “hard headed” after he got caught driving without a license. It turns out he’d been driving without one for nine years.
A police dashcam video posted to YouTube by Haltom City Firefighters for Responsible Government, which is fighting against the re-election of George “Trae” Fowler, shows a traffic stop from October 29, 2017, in which a North Richland Hills officer questions Fowler about a non-operational brake light.
Fowler was unable to produce a driver’s license, but told the officer his name and that he was a Haltom City councilman. After running a check on Fowler, the officer discovered that Fowler had warrants out for his arrest in North Richland Hills and McKinney.
Fowler told NBC 5 that he got the warrant in North Richland Hills because he missed a hearing on a previous ticket for driving without a license. In McKinney, he didn’t pay the $110 fine for the same offense in 2015.
In the video, the officer can be heard debating with his sergeant as to whether or not he should arrest Fowler.
“Usually we don’t — for me, unless there’s some really extenuating circumstances or whatever, if they have North Hills warrants, they’re coming [to jail],” the officer said during that conversation. “I’ve not encountered a situation like this with a sitting city council member.”
The officer ultimately let Fowler go with a stern warning of “Now listen to me. I’m not going to take you to jail tonight for that. I should be.” The officer gave Fowler tickets for the malfunctioning brake light, the lack of a license and an expired registration.
NBC 5 reported that Fowler was arrested the following month on the same warrants when he showed up at North Richland Hills Municipal Court, and had previously spent two days in jail in Johnson County for driving without a license.
Fowler told the outlet that he was blocked from renewing his license in 2009 when he failed to pay a citation he was given when three of his cows escaped his pasture. He blamed city workers for cutting his fence.
Fowler seeks re-election for Place 4 in Saturday’s city election.
Haltom City Firefighters for Responsible Government released a statement that said it was “embarrassed that a member of our council has acted in a manner that has brought discredit to Haltom City.”
That group is touting Brent Weast for the position.
Fowler said he had passed his driver’s test and was waiting on the Texas Department of Public Safety to issue his new license.
Johnny Kampis can be reached at [email protected].