HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The number of people cited last year for driving illegally climbed into the thousands in all 7 cities. News 3 investigates why this crime is so common among drivers here in Hampton Roads.
Many people drive even after their license has been suspended or revoked. Many people drive drunk or operate a vehicle after already getting a DUI.
Kaye Walsh lost her daughter and only child to a repeat offender drunk driver. Walsh told News 3 Shawn Teehan had a DUI conviction in North Carolina and had a pending DUI in Newport News when he got in the car on January 25, 1997 and hit Walsh's daughter, Robin, killing her.
Since that fateful day Walsh has dedicated her time to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) and worked tirelessly to pass new legislation to limit the number of drunk drivers on the road.
However, she said it is still discouraging when she goes to court and sees people walk in with driving offenses, and walk out with what Walsh considers a minor consequence. Walsh said she and her husband watch the same offenders come in and out of court constantly with very little regard for what they have done. "They turn around and smile as they walk out of court. Then they get in their car and drive away. Judges don't see that. We see that," Walsh said.
Virginia Beach's Commonwealth's Attorney Colin Stolle said on any given day, a driver can be sitting at a traffic light with several other people who are not legally operating their vehicle. "Many more people operate a car either with a suspended or revoked license," Stolle tells News 3.
This is not only dangerous, but Stolle said many of these people also drive without insurance. A danger to your person and your property.
Police officers are reminded of the danger daily. Officer Tom Monell drove News 3 around for this story and said, "some days every person I stop has a suspended or revoked license." Something he is overly aware of when he drives around town with his family in the car.
Lawyers, police officers and a mother who knows the weight of losing a child all realize this is a problem on our roadways, making it unsafe for our families. They advise all drivers to be extra cautious when you get behind the wheel.