Illinois License Scandal Broadens
October 14, 1998
Oct. 15 – As federal officials dig deeper into allegations of commercial driver licenses for sale in Illinois, they have subpoenaed a former state agent to testify about being ordered to drop a driver’s license investigation, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Russell Sonneveld apparently had investigated two supervisors at the secretary of state’s McCook licensing facility. So far, the investigation has focused on the Melrose Park facility, where two former supervisors already have been indicted.
Sonneveld became suspicious following a truck accident near Milwaukee in November 1994 that killed six children. He said because he suspected payoffs at McCook, when he learned that the driver, Ricardo Guzman, had received his license there, he wanted to notify Wisconsin police, who had not ticketed the driver. But “Inspector General Dean Bauer told me to leave it alone and let the Wisconsin authorities handle it,” Sonneveld said in court documents, according to the Sun-Times.
The accident has been used in campaign ads against Secretary of State George Ryan, who is running for governor.
Ryan ordered 522 truckers who graduated from Chicago’s Mega Driving School to retake their written driving tests because the school’s top instructor was charged in the federal bribery investigation. The truckers had five days to retake and pass the test or have their licenses revoked. Many drivers – 22% – did not turn up to take the test, and 11% failed it.