During a video call from Orlando Vazquez's Florida home, he appeared visibly relieved to have his driving nightmare finally in the rearview mirror.
"It’s a big weight off my shoulders," he told me. "Honestly, man, I’m just grateful to have you help me."
More than two years ago, Vazquez received a letter that warned him his Florida driver’s license was about to be suspended for failing to pay a $365 violation in Massachusetts.
According to the citation, police clocked Vazquez going more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit along Interstate 495 near Lawrence.
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
Vazquez said he had never set foot in Massachusetts and figured it would be an easy mistake to correct—an essential step because the truck driver depends on a clean CDL record for his livelihood.
But he couldn’t get anyone to listen. Vazquez reached out to the NBC10 Investigators because he saw how we’d helped other drivers facing unfair license suspensions during the early months of the pandemic.
When we first connected in 2020, Vazquez explained his alibi: doorbell video that shows him coming and going from his home the same night he was supposedly speeding on the highway more than 1,300 miles away.
According to cybercrime expert Steve Weisman, someone likely used a license with Vazquez’s stolen identity because they are relatively cheap and easy to obtain online.
“If they get pulled over or arrested, they provide that identity and then skip bail,” Weisman explained. “And suddenly, there is an arrest warrant out for the real person whose identity has been stolen.”
Weisman said if something like that happens to you, it’s a good idea to work with your local district attorney’s office to obtain a letter that you can carry with you at all times.
It essentially lets police know that you’ve been a victim of identity theft, and just because there is a warrant in your name, not to assume it’s the same person.
After hearing Vazquez’s story, we contacted the Massachusetts RMV and the agency said it would hit the brakes on the suspension until the Florida driver got a chance to argue his case.
Following the COVID-related backlog, Vazquez finally got his virtual day in court and a clerk magistrate dismissed the case.
“I’m thankful you guys were willing to listen to my problem,” Vazquez said. “It’s been a rough ride.”