Local News

'STAYUMBL' driver rejects plea deal on Wake traffic charges

Posted June 26, 2019 11:26 a.m. EDT
Updated June 26, 2019 12:33 p.m. EDT

— A Durham woman who has gained notoriety online for erratic driving and the license plate "STAYUMBL" on Wednesday rejected a plea deal from Wake County prosecutors and plans to take her case to a jury.

Diana Taije Mems, 50, faces speeding and reckless driving charges, as well as a charge of failure to appear in court on the driving charges last month.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman sought an indictment against Mems after learning of her history of accidents and driving offenses, saying Mems poses a risk to the public. As a result, the case was moved from traffic court to Superior Court.

The plea deal could have resulted in her being placed on probation, but she likely would have lost her driver's license. Her attorney, Brennon Morton, said previously that Mems needs her license because she drives large trucks and heavy machinery for a living.

Mems pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday, and she's due back in court July 15, when a trial date will be set.

Superior Court Judge Keith Gregory made clear that he doesn't want Mems behind the wheel until the case is resolved. He ordered that authorities maintain possession of her license for now – she surrendered it last month when she was arrested – and that she remain on electronic monitoring.

"I'd have a concern for the public safety. So, the electronic monitoring is going to stay in place," Gregory said.

Mems has become infamous on social media, where dozens of posts point out the "STAYUMBL" plate and criticize her driving. Some people accuse her of trying to force other drivers to rear-end her vehicle by stopping abruptly in traffic.

Morton has said the focus needs to remain on the charges at hand, not on social media.

She also faces charges of reckless driving, improper passing and impeding traffic in Durham County following an April incident involving a school bus.

A bus driver posted a video online that showed the "STAYUMBL" car pulling in front of the bus and stopping suddenly on a two-lane road to block the bus. A woman got out of the car with a cellphone to record the incident as she pointed at the back of her car.

She is due in court on those charges on Aug. 20.

STAYUMBL car

WRAL News learned that Mems changed her license plate after being cited in the Durham case.

The Wake County District Attorney's Office and the state Department of Insurance are reviewing Mems' history to determine if any of the dozens of crashes she's been involved in since 2000 have been staged to collect an insurance payout.

Authorities have said that Mems has used 18 aliases and had a fake address on her driver's license. Freeman has asked the state Division of Motor Vehicles to merge the records of Mems' aliases to make sure authorities have her accurate driving record.