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Patrol: Unlicensed Drivers 2x More Likely To Be Involved In Deadly Crashes

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Unsettling statistics involving unlicensed drivers have been released by the Minnesota State Patrol. The release comes in the wake of two deadly crashes involving drivers with revoked licenses.

"When you look at a crash involving an unlicensed driver often times the first reaction is this person shouldn't have been here in the first place," said Lt. Eric Roeske with Minnesota State Patrol.

The first incident happened Saturday night when a driver hit and killed an Augsburg College student near the Warehouse District in downtown Minneapolis.

On Tuesday, Hennepin County prosecutors charged Teisha Yovonne Randle, 27, with two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Austin Conley, 20.

Randle told police she heard a loud crash and that her windshield "exploded," a criminal complaint says. She said she thought someone threw a rock at her car and so kept driving. It was later learned that Randle had her license revoked.

Early Monday morning, on Interstate 494 at France Avenue, authorities say a cab driver was killed after a seven car pileup.

State Patrol says a car driven by Isidoro Burgos-Corona, 49, of Minneapolis, was stalled in the right lane of westbound 494 near Penn Avenue when three cars crashed into him from behind. A cab involved in the crash was rear-ended and pushed into the middle of the interstate, where he was hit by a semi-truck, killing him.

Corona was arrested for driving without a license. State records show Corona was charged several times in the past for driving without a license, driving after revocation and driving without insurance.

"Unlicensed drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a deadly crash as a licensed driver, statistically," Roeske said.

In 2011, 3,467 drivers did not have a valid driver license and were involved in crashes, 31 of those crashes were deadly. That's .89 percent.

In 2011, 98,987 drivers involved in crashes had valid licenses and 430 of them were deadly. That's only .43 percent.

State patrol says that means "not valid" drivers are 2.1 times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash than valid drivers.

"From my point of view, if a person doesn't have a driver's license and they're behind a wheel, obviously, they're not cognizant of following the law," Roeske said. "And that may lead them to break others laws while behind the wheel."

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