Fatal Crash: How Did Illegal Immigrant Get Driver's License?
11:39 AM, Aug 18, 2005
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is under scrutiny as victims' family members question how a two-time convicted drunken driver, who was in this country illegally, was allowed behind the wheel.
Rosalio Pedraza, 31, is charged with killing two members of a wedding party while driving drunk.In court Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty to 12 felony charges, including reckless homicide and DUI causing death.Prosecutors said Pedraza had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit when he crashed into a car leaving a wedding party at the Indianapolis Zoo.Thomas Youngstafel, the father of the groom, and Joseph Geller, a family friend, died. Both victims were from Kentucky"We would like to ask the public to support such organizations as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and to strengthen the penalties for first and second convictions of DUI," Carl Youngstafel, Thomas' brother, said.
RTV6's Ericka Flye asked BMV officials how Pedraza could have obtained a valid driver's license given his circumstances.Officials said Pedraza went through the same procedures all Hoosiers go through at the BMV.But, he may have provided false information at a time when the BMV had its guard down.Pedraza claimed not to understand questions in his court appearance Wednesday.Prosecutors believe he fully understood what he was doing when he went to the BMV and walked out with a driver's license officials said he never should have had."There were processes in place, but the processes are certainly not perfect," BMV spokesman Greg Cook said.Prosecutors said Pedraza managed to get around the system.In May 2001, Pedraza presented the required documents and received an identification card.Three months later, records showed he used that ID card for identification, passed a driver's test, and received a license."In 2001, those were the requirements. He did meet all the requirements that were in place at that particular point in time," Cook said.A year later, the BMV implemented more stringent requirements. But again, Pedraza returned to a branch to get another driver's license. This time, he had a Social Security number -- one of those new requirements."It is believed that number was fraudulent. It did not fit with his name when we checked earlier today," Cook said.BMV officials admit the system is not foolproof and say, even with stiffer requirements, they are not done making improvements.In the past two years, Cook said the BMV has increased employees training for detecting fraudulent documents.Foreign documents are now verified by the Department of Homeland Security.