Local News

Victim's Family Pushes for Tougher License-Revocation Laws

Posted March 21, 2008

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— The family of an Apex man killed a year ago in a roadside wreck is calling for stricter penalties for drivers who get behind the wheel after their license has been revoked.

Jimmy Knowles had pulled off to the side of the road near the intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and N.C. Highway 751 in Chatham County on March 24, 2007, and was hit by another vehicle as he was climbing back into his truck, according to his family.

"My life, it just stopped that day," said his wife, Portia Knowles. "One minute he was here, the next minute he was gone."

Alfred John Ryan, formerly of Pittsboro, was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle and reckless driving to endanger in Knowles' death. He is scheduled to go to court next month.

But Knowles' family and friends are furious that Ryan had been arrested the night before the wreck and charged with driving while impaired and driving with a revoked license. He was convicted of those charges in January and placed on probation, and is now appealing the case.

"The system failed Jimmy Knowles," Portia Knowles said. "We need to have a law to take care of the people that are driving without a license."

Family friend Allison Blackman said he saw plenty of similar cases during his 30 years as a Raleigh police officer.

"(The laws) aren't strong enough at all," Blackman said. "It doesn't protect the citizens of North Carolina, and I think the legislature needs to look at that."

The anniversary of Jimmy Knowles' death is especially painful, as it falls the day after Easter, his family said.

"Jimmy was the biggest kid on Easter," Portia Knowles said, noting the family always held a huge egg hunt.

"When it was a holiday, that was time you spent as a family," daughter Danielle Knowles said.

7 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Mike128 Mar 21, 2008

    I would certainly support a program that takes the car in DUI cases. Other countries do this and they tie the fine to how much they make. Unfortunately, in this country DWI seems to be an acceptable behavior. The guy that killed my girlfriends parents had 5 previous DWI convictions.... I like the penalty in some countries, your first DWI is your last, execution ensures no repeat offenders. Not likely here.

    People with revoked licenses that claim some sort of hardship because of vehicle loss should be made to drive a bright pink moped for 1 year to get back and forth to work. Anyone who lends their car to a driver with a revoked license should loose their car as well.

  • romex Mar 21, 2008

    it is a shame such a thing like this happend I am sorry for the family and it but do people realy know what a illeagle immigrants do when they get a dwi they are charged they get out and go get another set of license under another name. that is how the nc dmv workes they drink and drive all the time. this man will go to court at least you can thank easly for that.

  • ContinuityMan Mar 21, 2008

    Jimmie Knowles was a friend of mine. So much for my objectivity. He was and his family are terrific people and I wish them peace and healing. Jimmie, you left this planet way too early. We'll miss you.

  • hilltop6 Mar 21, 2008

    brilliant idea!!!--to take away the vehicle of a driver whose license has been revoked. We had four family members killed by a drunk driver 25 years ago in Deep Gap NC. The court system did very little to punish the killer. The system is not just --lenient for drunk drivers & insulting to their victims.

  • ghimmy47 Mar 21, 2008

    We recognize that people transporting drugs are a danger to society and confiscate their vehicles. Why can't we recognize that someone driving with a revoked license (especially for DUI) is an even greater, almost certain and more immediate danger to us all? Remove the instrument used to commit willful murder. Take away their vehicles immediately.

  • grenlyn1 Mar 21, 2008

    But Knowles' family and friends are furious that Ryan had been arrested the night before the wreck and charged with driving while impaired and driving with a revoked license. He was convicted of those charges in January and placed on probation, and he is now appealing the case.

    Did I miss something? This guy is appealing the charge of DUI and without a license? I guess he feels he is above the law. Isn't it enough he took the life of another human being and will pay little to no time for it?

  • NZ Mar 21, 2008

    We need harsher punishments than the supreme court allows. Criminals like who harm others should not be afforded Human Rights because they are not good humans.

    Human Rights are a good thing for innocent people but it prevents our judiciary from using practical, cost effective punishments which merit better deterrant results than the sham justice system we have today.