How Police Could've Stopped Clarisse Grime's Death

There is a disturbing front-page article in the Sunday July 22, 2012 edition of the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, Three Stops, But No One Stopped Him, about how Carlos Viveros-Colorado struck and killed 16 year old Clarisse Grime outside her high school.  While this article focuses on the fact that Carlos Viveros-Colorado has entered the United States illegally twice and should've been flagged by officers as an illegal alien, which I don't disagree, why wasn't he stopped for not having a driver's license?  Prior to this deadly accident, he's been pulled over three times in the last year by Saint Paul area officers and sited for not having a Minnesota driver's license; two of those times for speeding.  Shouldn't his car have been impounded or himself arrested by the third time?

The article thoroughly describes the systematic failure on the part of state and local government. However, there's one angle that I feel wasn't covered well enough.  When a person does not have a valid driver's license, there could be a reason that could endanger the public.  In the case of Carlos Viveros-Colorado, he had a DWI that he never addressed to the court's satisfaction, is a habitual speeder, has a medical condition not marked on his nonexistent license, and is an illegal alien.  The latter factor is dangerous because most countries don't have the quality of driver's ed training that the United States does; meaning that that need for aliens, legal or otherwise, to acquire a valid driver's license is that much more import to public safety.  Immigration status does not predict future criminal behavior, but can be an indicator of lack of proper training in how to safely drive a vehicle.

I personally just got my valid driver's license back from a DUI several years back.  I too had a medical condition that has since past and had to get a doctor's approval to get my license back.  I paid almost $3,000.00 in court costs, fines, and fees.  My DUI is on record and up until I was legal, had a court order not to drive without a valid license.  I never drove while my license was canceled, opting instead to take the bus to work.  I'm a US citizen and up until the time that I passed all my driver's tests, if I'd been pulled over, I'd been arrested and had my car impounded.  How does Carlos Viveros-Colorado get a pass?

As far as racial profiling is concerned, how can an officer not consider checking the immigration status of a driver who doesn't speak English fluently and provides a Mexican ID instead of a valid Minnesota driver's license?  Note that Saint Paul and Minneapolis are sanctuary cities, meaning that it is illegal for an officer to question the immigration status of a driver unless it's relevant to the crime.

The Newport police officer that pulled him over for not having a valid driver's license did nothing more then give him a citation.  He didn't arrest him or impound his car for having committed the same crime less than a year earlier.  He didn't check his immigration status even though he showed Mexican ID; (and I'm assuming English was not his native tongue).  Remember, Newport isn't a sanctuary city, so police can legally question a driver's immigration status.  You gotta love this quote from Newport Police Chief Curt Montgomery, "People stopped by police use all kinds of identification and having ID from another country shouldn't lead officers to conclude a person is in the country illegally."  Really Mr. Montgomery; Good thing your merely a Police Chief and not a detective.

It really just boils down to one simple law: If you repeated are stopped for driving without a license, you should be arrested.  If Carlos Viveros-Colorado didn't pursue a valid driver's license because of his immigration status, then it's possible, being from Mexico, he hasn't the training to drive safely.  Maybe if he took a driver's test like the rest of us, we'd know whether or not he's a safe driver.  And secondly, if he was arrested the second time he was stopped, ICE would've run his immigration status...and young Clarisse Grime would still be alive.


-=- Craig A. Lance (a.k.a. PalaDolphin)


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