Local News

DMV Cracking Down on Repeat Licenses of Repeat DWI Offenders

Posted September 12, 1999

— In recent years, the state has cracked down on drunk drivers, but some are still slipping through the cracks. Believe it or not, itispossible to get a driver's license even after your privileges have been revoked.

Last year, more than 56,000 people were convicted of Driving While Impaired on North Carolina's roads. A lot of these people are driving with a revoked license or a license they got by using an alias.

Victims of drunk drivers say it is time to put an end to this practice.

In a split second, a windshield shatters and so does the world of a family whose 74-year-old mother is killed.

"I couldn't believe my eyes. I mean there was a car coming right at me," says Michael Kelley of the June 27 accident.

Kelley was driving on Highway 42 that day when Francisco Martinez crossed the center line.

Kelley's wife and sons were injured; his mother, Lula Kelley, was killed.

Martinez was already a four-time convicted drunk driver who had used aliases to get two licenses. At the time of the crash, though, Martinez was driving without a valid license.

"I went from sad and sick to just angry," says Kelley. "It makes me mad that he can get away with this, and he did."

TheDivision of Motor Vehiclesuses a computer system linking all 126 DMV offices in the state. It allows examiners to check for duplicate licenses.

"One of the things that we train all of our examiners for is to spot people trying to get a license under a different name or an alias," says Wayne Hurder, DMV License Director.

Because Martinez was not from the United States, he did not have to show a Social Security card, just documents from his native country.

The DMV is working hard to help examiners spot false forms of identification. But it is too late for the Kelleys.

"Now he's going to get 13 to 18 years depending upon his behavior, but I mean, my mom is gone," says Kelley.

Down the line, the DMV hopes to improve its ability to catch people trying to get a license with an alias by pulling up their picture on the computer.

Currently, their computers are not set up to do this.


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