"Police Struggle to Find Drivers `That Don't Exist`"
April 20, 2008, 04:49 PM
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“Hit-and-run” just got a whole new meaning.

Newspaper readers see stories all the time of accidents caused by drunken, Mexican, illegal immigrants who ran away, after crashing their cars. Like many readers, I have often wondered:

1. How can someone who was driving so blind drunk that he just maimed and/or killed people and totaled his own car, be in any shape to run?; and

2. What’s the point? In the past, police would identify the vehicle’s owner, and the drunken killer would be rounded up in no time at all.

Apparently, such incidents also gave pause to some of the finest minds in state government in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia. And they came up with a solution: Those states no longer require applicants for car registration and title to furnish proof of identity, just proof of address.

Those government bureaucrats must have been upset by the stereotyping non-undocumented workers (i.e., the demographic group formerly known as “Americans”) would engage in, saying things like, “Look at that dumb undocumented worker, running from the scene of an accident. Law’s just gonna chase him down, anyway.” Now, they can say, “Look at that smart undocumented worker, running from the scene of an accident. He just might get away with murder.”

These reflections were prompted by the April 12 article, Police struggle to find drivers ‘that don't exist,’ by reporter Carol Vaughn, in Virginia’s Dellmarva Daily Times, a Gannett paper.

Vaughn reports on an accident that demolished the front porch of Darryl Hopkins’ house on Fisher Road outside of Parksley, Virginia, and almost killed Hopkins. Hopkins was sleeping in a recliner in his living room, just a few feet from the front door, whose splintered glass landed in his lap. The car lay outside his door on its side, its lights on, but with no driver to be found. It was registered to a ghost named “Fidel Chavez Escalante,” according to the license left behind in Sr. Escalante’s wallet.

It was the second crash on Hopkins’ property by a ghost driver in the past year.

More progress: Not only did the non-existent driver escape, but the car had Mississippi plates front and back, unlike a previous crash Hopkins recounts that occurred across the road, in which a ghost driver’s car had Mississippi plates on one end, and Tennessee plates on the other.

Vaughn interviewed Virginia State Police First Sgt. J.P. Koushel, who is seeing more “hit-and-run cases involving falsified vehicle registrations.” Koushel said,

“We can't solve these [cases] because in Mississippi, this car is registered to a person who doesn't exist.”

“These cars are untraceable; they all come back to a fictitious person. If you don't have to prove who you are, what's the use of registering and titling a car? If migrant workers can do it, criminals can do it.”

Vaughn reports,

“A search of General District court records this week turned up three cases involving a person with the name on the license found in the car with a Parksley address — one for speeding, one for not having a Virginia driver's license and one for no license. The man was found guilty in all three cases and paid fines ranging from $75 to $100.”

She quotes Hopkins as saying, “It's a zoo back here. This is a major corridor for drugs, alcohol and illegal immigrants.”

This writer was surprised to see Gannett permitting one of its reporters to be so frank about illegal immigration.

(E-mail Carol Vaughn, to thank her for doing such a bang-up job. )

A tip ‘o the hat to faxdc.com’s Minuteman Steve, who sent me Carol Vaughn’s article.