Police: It's Hard to Keep Drivers With a Suspended License Off The Road

Danville, VA - After a weekend crash that led to an explosion at a Danville apartment complex - police are weighing in on how tough it is to keep drivers with a suspended license off the road.

Police say 36-year-old James Barksdale was driving on a suspended license when he drove into the building causing a gas leak.

Court records show this is not Barksdale's first charge of driving on a suspended license.

In 2008, he was charged with the same thing.

We've seen case after case of damage done behind the wheel while driving on a suspended license. This latest incident - according to police - has left 13 people homeless.

But police say these kind of offenders usually aren't caught until after something like this happens.

"It is unfortunate when things like that happen and sometimes it's tragic when things like that happen, " said Lt. Michael Wallace with Danville Police Dept. said.

Wallace says sobriety checkpoints and traffic stops offer police their best chance of catching these drivers.

"When you find out that way you may prevent a serious incident, " Wallace said.

Virginia once had a habitual offender law - which resulted in a multi-year license suspension and possible jail time for repeat offenders, but that law no longer exists.

State officials say a license can be revoked for many reasons - from unpaid fines to DUI.

"Or it may be through an administrative action and they didn't know it. They find out they were suspended and they take care of it, " Wallace said, but that offers little solace for those affected by drivers who shouldn't be behind the wheel - especially Matthew Britton, who just narrowly escaped his apartment before the explosion.

"This is a wake up call for anyone that is driving on a suspended license, because a lot of people lost their homes, " Britton said.

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