Sec. of state wants more complete motorist history

June 29, 2011 (CHICAGO)

On Monday, a cab struck and killed a pedestrian in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. The cab, Yao Ofori, driver had more than 30 traffic citations in Cook County, but only two of those showed up in Ofori's driving record at the Illinois Secretary of State due to various laws.

"It's based on the offense table that is set for by the state of Illinois through the administrative office of Illinois courts. They give us a table and we correspond what is reportable and not reportable to the state," said Enza Raineri, Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

Some of Ofori's traffic citations were dismissed or not pursued. For instance, in 2007, Ofori was driving when his cab hit a pedestrian. That ticket -- failure to yield -- was dismissed and not reported to the secretary of state.

The two moving violations in the secretary of state records were improper turn (2007) and improper lane usage (2010).

Following Monday's fatal accident, Ofori received two more citations.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White hopes to get more information about traffic violations so his office can take action.

"Let the secretary of state know what kind of driver you've been behind the wheel of an automobile because we only get the convictions. It would be nice to get the rest of the story," White said.

Friends of Hector Placencia, the pedestrian who was killed in Monday's crash, said they are troubled by the cab driver's traffic record.

"You get the impression it could have been avoided when you hear all those things. And the bad luck of him walking down the street at that time," said Frank De'Angelo, Riva Crab House general manager.

"We are in shock, everybody surprised. He was a good person, always on time, smiling, doing a good job," Riva Crab House Sous Chef Enrique Loza said. Loza and other friends hope to reach Placencia's family in Mexico.

The secretary of state's office is notified if a driver is convicted of three moving violations in a 12 month period, that is reportable to the secretary of state. In a case like that, the driver would have his license suspended from two months to one year depending on the seriousness of the violation.

None of Ofori's citations rose to that level and he had a valid driver's license at the time of the accident.

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