TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – Jose Perez paid thousands of dollars to go to trucking school. But now, three years later, if he doesn’t fork over hundreds more to retake the driving test, the state is taking back his license.
“At the time, everything was ok,” he said. “And three years is a long time to get a letter like this.”
Perez and about two thousand other Florida truckers are receiving a letter, warning the state, “has good cause to confirm your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.”
Helpless, Perez turned to 8 On Your Side for answers. We found this is tied to a fake truck driving school in Orlando, Larex, Inc. Perez had nothing to do with that school. Larex officials were indicted in July 2015 for selling CDL licenses to at least 600 Russians – even though they weren’t qualified and many could not speak English well enough to read the written portion of the test.
Perez got his training at 1st Class CDL Truck Training in Tampa. It turns out, one of the school’s state certified testers, Clarence Davis, was the same one officials say was bribed by the Russian school.
1st class CDL Training Director John Ciszek said his school has been bombarded with upset students who received this letter because they tested with Davis.
Ciszek said he himself tested with Davis and received the same letter. School officials feel bad, he said, because this school had nothing to do with what happened and had no control over the state inspector. He said they are trying to help students who have to retake the test by offering a discount. However, he said, he is concerned about other truckers who should not have passed the test.
“It’s very alarming because you have people out there who are driving 18-wheel vehicles that weigh 80,000 pounds that are not really qualified to be behind the wheel,” Ciszek said.
Meanwhile, Perez is stuck with a tough choice. He wants to keep his license but does not want to pay more and retake a test he already passed.
“I did my part so I think I should be able to keep my license,” he said.