Dallas City Councilman Kevin Felder surrendered Tuesday to felony charges stemming from an alleged scooter accident he is accused of fleeing from — and if convicted, those charges may mean more than a felony record.
Felder, who represents District 7, has been accused of fleeing the scene of an accident where he allegedly hit someone traveling by scooter in South Dallas.
Councilman Felder and his attorney, Pete Schulte, vehemently deny the charges.
According to the arrest warrant, police were called to the scene by witnesses and talked to the rider of the scooter as they tended to his injuries. The man said he was “struck from behind by a bluish Ford Fusion” in the 2500 block of Malcolm X Boulevard.
The rear wheel of the scooter, the police report said, went “underneath the front bumper” on the passenger side of the Fusion. That alleged action made the scooter stop abruptly and throw the rider off to the ground, where he sustained injuries.
According to the affidavit, the man complained of “severe pain and swelling” of his right arm, with abrasions and scrapes on his left arm. He told police that he had to pull the scooter out from under the Fusion.
Witnesses told authorities that Felder exchanged words with the rider of the scooter, and then left before law enforcement and medical personnel arrived. One witness, who recognized Felder, said she heard him yell, “Do you know who I am?” before he drove off. Another witness said he saw the scooter lying in the street, and what appeared to be a dazed man next to it.
Police had Felder’s car, a blue Ford Fusion, towed during the council meeting he was evidently on his way to attend, that evening.
And police found damage on the right front corner of Felder’s bumper that was apparently consistent with the victim’s and witness reports. Felder voted in favor of bringing the scooters to Dallas last summer to help promote the city’s walkable, urban image.
Felder, who retained attorney Pete Schulte, maintains his innocence, insisting that he only confronted the scooter’s rider.
Schulte said in a tweet Tuesday that he and Felder “now look forward to our day in court.”
My client, @CityOfDallas Councilman Kevin Felder, appeared in District Court this morning and resolved the arrest warrant filed by @DallasPD yesterday. Sorry, media, no wanted “perp walk” today. Although not happy with the PDs decision, we now look forward to our day in court.
— Lawyer Pete Schulte (@AttyPeteSchulte) February 26, 2019
“I know what Dallas police did, as a former investigator myself, they’re like, ‘Hey, this kid’s saying he had an accident – we don’t know, we can’t do what we need to do, so we’re just going to get a warrant and put it in the justice system,’” Schulte said in a press conference Tuesday.
Last week, a day after the February 13 incident, Schulte also tweeted a statement about one of the witnesses in the case:
This “witness” who told police she saw the “collision” yesterday involving my client, CM Kevin Felder, is back-peddling today saying she didn’t actually see any collision, just the aftermath. It’s time @DallasPD turns this over to an outside police agency due to their conflict.
— Lawyer Pete Schulte (@AttyPeteSchulte) February 15, 2019
But could a potential felony conviction impact Felder’s career — a real estate broker licensed in the state of Texas? Yes and no.
“To be eligible for a real estate license, applicants must prove to TREC that they have the required honesty, trustworthiness & integrity,” the commission’s website explains. “Each applicant is evaluated individually and TRELA does not contain a list of crimes or number of crimes that would automatically disqualify an applicant from obtaining a license.”
The TREC does allow that there are criminal offenses (relating to fraud, for the most part) that could impact whether a potential Realtor could perform his or her job duties. The commission also said it would consider evidence of mitigating factors in relation to any felony, and any efforts toward rehabilitation.
A couple of years ago, a Facebook group also discussed this, and lawyer Tony R. Bertolino wrote in a blog post that a Realtor could lose his or her license if they failed to report a felony conviction to TREC.
“If you are convicted of, or plead guilty or nolo contendere to, a felony or crime involving fraud, you have a legal duty to notify the Texas Real Estate Commission (“TREC” or the “Commission”) within 30 days,” Bertolino said. “If you fail to properly notify TREC, it is a violation of the Texas Occupations Code §1101.652(a)(1) and may be cause for license suspension, revocation, or reprimand.”
Unless he is convicted, Felder is in no danger of losing his license at all — he holds an active Texas broker’s real estate license, where he is current on all his continuing education requirements and has no disciplinary actions against him.
Bethany Erickson contributed to this report.