Driving Without a License

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The accident happened mid-morning of July 17, 2001. Forty-seven-year-old Barbara Traszka and her nine-year-old son David pulled out in front of a jeep driven by 17-year-old Francisco Ramirez.

23 News has learned Ramirez should not have been behind the wheel of the jeep when the accident happened. He was stopped two times prior to the fatal crash for driving without a license. A memorial now stands on the ground where 47-year-old Barbara Traska and her nine-year-old son David died on.

The two where hit by 17-year-old Francisco Ramirez as they turned through the intersection. Despite crash analysis reports showing Ramirez was traveling 71 miles per hour at the time of the crash, Ramirez received only one ticket, driving without a license.

The accident that has brought the Traska family so much grief, could have, and should have been prevented.

Prior to the accident, Ramirez was stopped not once, but twice for driving without a license. On both occasions, traffic tickets show Ramirez lied about his date of birth, and middle initial, lies that may have helped him evade police and that may have kept him on the road.

Elizabeth Earelywine prosecuted Ramirez on two felony counts of giving fraudulent name and birth date information to police. Even more surprising, despite hard evidence that Ramirez gave false information, a Winnebago County jury just Tuesday, acquitted Ramirez on all counts of obstruction of justice.

The law is too late to save Barbara and David. The Traska family says there is a loop hole in the system, and they fear hundreds, possibly thousands of drivers like Ramirez are on Illinois roadways everyday.