Once again, a driver with a suspended driver's license, whose vehicle was returned to her by the California Highway Patrol, continued to drive and subsequently killed several people. On Friday, Feb. 3, at the corner of Florence and Halldale avenues, Moreno Valley resident Tenina Calhoun, stopped one month earlier for unlicensed driving, killed three of her passengers in a crash. Because her vehicle had not been impounded for 30-days on the prior stop, Calhoun was driving that same car in Friday’s crash.
On that same day, two Los Angeles police officers were injured when an unlicensed driver in Jefferson Park hit their patrol car. And on Saturday, a Long Beach police officer on his way to an unlicensed/DUI driver checkpoint was hit by an unlicensed driver.
How many tragedies is it going to take before those clamoring for a stop to unlicensed-driver vehicle impoundment admit they’re wrong? In September, we highlighted the story of an unlicensed driver whose vehicle was not impounded and who five days later, was behind the wheel of the vehicle that killed a young boy in a hit-and-run crash.
The legislature passed the impound law allowing the impoundment of vehicles operated by unlicensed drivers as a public safety measure. Unlicensed drivers have either not proven they know how to operate a motor vehicle safely, or were previously licensed drivers who had their driving privilege revoked because of moving violations.
Allowing unlicensed drivers to have a vehicle returned to them will only encourage them to continue driving, and increase the danger for others. The deaths of Tenina Calhoun’s passengers are yet another tragic reminder of that.
Blog updated with new information February 10 at 2200 hours.
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