Lockport delivery driver unable to renew IL driver's license due to mistaken identity debacle

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Wednesday, January 17, 2024
Suburban man couldn't renew license due to mistaken identity debacle
A Lockport food delivery driver was in shock when he couldn't get his Illinois driver's license renewed because of DUIs incurred by a North Carolina man with the same name and birt

LOCKPORT, Ill. (WLS) -- A Lockport food delivery driver was in shock when he couldn't get his Illinois driver's license renewed. He was told he had DUIs in his name in North Carolina. But he said he's never been to North Carolina and has a clean driving record.

Carlos Hernandez has been through the wringer trying to get his Illinois driver's license renewed. He needs his license to be able to deliver food for apps like DoorDash.

"Just to show up to the DMV thinking here it goes, I'm going to renew my license and have it all taken away from me and from that moment on nothing has been the same since that day," Hernandez said.

The problem? Hernandez has the same first, middle and last name, and date of birth, as a different man in North Carolina who has two DUIs on his record and faces outstanding fines.

"It's not me, I don't live in North Carolina, I never drove in North Carolina," said Hernandez.

All states use a nationwide data base called the National Driver Register which is under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Hernandez said he was flagged by that system and he could not get his license renewed by the Illinois Secretary of State's office because of those North Carolina DUIs.

"The system returns probable matches depending on the information provided by the states," NHTSA said.

The agency said it's up to the individual states to verify information and correct it and flag it if its inaccurate.

Hernandez was eventually able to get his license renewed after the state DMV gave him a one-time pass, but that doesn't solve matters for future renewals and other issues.

"They say it could be a problem even when I get pulled over, there may be the name's still attached," he said.

Hernandez is still in need of what's called a No Match Letter, which would say he is not the same person as the man in question. But he said officials in North Carolina were refusing to give him the letter, saying he had to attend a court hearing in person to prove his story.

To make matters more frustrating, according to a Facebook post the other man with the same name died.

"I don't think anybody should have to go through this, no matter what, they should figure out this system so that people don't have to go through this," said Hernandez.

The I-Team reached out to every single agency involved and just days after our emails were sent, Hernandez received a No Match Letter from North Carolina. With the letter and his new license, he was able to get back on DoorDash and have peace of mind.

"I am beyond happy," Hernandez said. "This is a great day for me. If I ever run into any problems in the future, I just have to show this letter and say that that man is not me."

Even though Hernandez ended up getting that letter, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and officials with the North Carolina court system never got back to us.

The Illinois Secretary of State's office is providing Hernandez with a different letter to help with any further driver's license renewals.