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Feds Expanding Illinois CDL Probe

October 6, 1999

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Federal investigators are expanding their probe into commercial driver license bribery in Illinois.

According to published reports, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said earlier this week that the investigation will go far beyond the McCook and Melrose Park testing stations previously targeted, into the rest of the Chicago area. The investigation also reportedly is scrutinizing more people with ties to Gov. George Ryan, who was secretary of state when the license scandal broke.
"I cannot be specific, but I can tell you they're hunting up the food chain," White told a Chicago area paper. He expects U.S. Attorney Scott Lassar to identify still more truckers who got their licenses through questionable means. White says he will re-test any truck drivers so identified.
In related news, former trucker Ricardo Guzman "took the fifth" when testifying about how he got his license. In 1994, part of Guzman's mudflap-taillight assembly fell off the truck and caused an accident that killed six children. Gonzalo Mendoza, an executive for the trucking company the employed Guzman, has testified that he bribed officials in order to allow Guzman to pass his commercial driving test.
"I respectfully decline to answer and assert my right against self-incrimination," Guzman testified. A jury is trying to assess fault in the accident.

White plans to start computer testing for all commercial drivers early next year. Eventually, he also wants to re-test all drivers, both commercial and automobile, involved in two or more crashes during a year's time.

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