State Sen. Jason Welch: Why criminal justice information system files should be accessible in real time [Foothills Media Group]

March 6, 2013

Editorial as it appeared in on

Recently, I testified before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Transportation Committee on behalf of a constituent’s family. The Bristol family lost their 31-year-old father and friend in June 2012. Demetrious Lausell-Vann, the father of three and a social worker, was the victim of a hit-and-run.

Demetrious was a hard-working family man, who was riding his motorcycle home from work when he was struck by an unregistered minivan driven by a repeat drunk driver, habitual motor vehicle offender, and convicted felon.

The driver, who took off from the scene of the accident, had an extensive list of driving violations, including driving under the influence and a suspended license. He also had an extensive criminal record. Yet, authorities never cross-referenced the files because state agency computer systems were not able to share information with one another.

This reckless driver and convicted criminal fell through the cracks. When his extensive driving record on file at the Department of Motor Vehicle is not accessible to the Department of Correction, or the judicial system, we are not doing right by our citizens.

That is why I introduced legislation to keep this lack of information sharing from happening in the future. Just days ago SB 796, An Act Concerning The Availability of Motor Vehicle Records Through The Criminal Justice Information System, was put before the committee.

If passed, this law would require that up-to-date motor vehicle records, including pending violations, be accessible in real time to authorized parties through the criminal justice information system.

In written testimony Lorisa Jones urged the committee members to “close the information loopholes” and described her son’s assailant as “a train wreck waiting to happen.”

“My son’s life was cut short, and his children will never see their dad again, because of the lenient laws in the state of Connecticut,” Jones said.

I understand the state is now in the process of unveiling this upgraded criminal justice information system. Sadly, this critical change comes too late for Lorisa Jones and her family. However, it is necessary to follow through and maintain this information sharing if we are to keep our residents safe.

I know Lorisa Jones wants this effort to continue and I support her in that. She and her family deserve no less.