Prosecutors push for tougher penalties on drivers without licenses

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – There are still a lot of questions as to how a man managed to drive with a suspended license for more than a decade before police say he caused a school bus crash that injured several students.

According to some experts, there are at least 100,000 drivers on Pennsylvania roads who currently have their licenses suspended.

James Irvin III (submitted)

James P. Irvin III, 46, is accused of causing the bus crash in East Lampeter Township last week that injured 14 Lancaster Mennonite students. Prosecutors said his license had been suspended since 2004.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said Irvin had a list of infractions.

“We just can’t have it so that when you are cited for driving under suspension that it’s a polite request and we kind of hope don’t drive, and that really what it is in Pennsylvania,” Stedman said.

Stedman explained that it takes drivers six times to be caught without a license to be sent to jail in Pennsylvania. He said that’s a system that allows for more incidents like the bus crash.

“For those individuals that choose to violate, there needs to be much more of a consequence,” he said.

Chris Demko lost his 18-year-old daughter Meredith to a DUI driver who was without his license in 2014.

“The individual that killed my daughter was stopped for driving under a suspended license three months before he killed Meredith,” Demko said.

Demko belongs to a group of parents who are pushing for tougher laws for those who shouldn’t be on the road. Demko said some of the legislation has been tossed out of Harrisburg at least once.

“The reality of it is the laws are inadequate for driving under suspension,” he said.

Demko hopes more legislation, which is currently in the House of Representatives, makes it further this time.

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