CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - When Bob Grissom came up from Sikeston to meet with me, he climbed out of the passenger seat of his green Chevy truck.
He hasn't been able to drive it since July of 2006, when a very old problem involving his half-brother came back to haunt him.
"He never really kept a job or worked a day. He more or less spent his whole life in trouble", Grissom says of his half-brother, Dennis "Butch" Burgess.
Back in early 1975, Grissom recalls Butch had some disturbing news.
"He told me he got stopped in Illinois and used my name. And I said well you've got to go back over there and straighten it out. And he said, well I will."
A few years later, Grissom tells me he got a letter. Illinois had a hold on his driver's license.
"I called them and they said well, you got a DUI in Cairo, Illinois. I said, 'No Ma'am I didn't. I haven't even been over there.'"
Grissom drove to Cairo City Hall and the clerk pulled the file. Inside, they found a mug shot of Butch Burgess under the name Robert Grissom.
"They said, 'Well this is no problem. We can get this straightened out.' ", he recalls.
Grissom never heard another word about the DUI, but did hear about Butch still using his name.
"That's a breathalyzer refusal where he used my name", Grissom tells me as we look at a printout out of what's supposed to be his driving record.
This was in '93? I ask.
And '95? So he was still using your name then.
"Yes, Ma'am. He's been doing it my whole life, see?"
Then in July of 2006, Grissom went in to renew his Missouri driver's license, and couldn't. Butch's DUI was back.
"I said I can't understand it. After 30 years, now they're going to kick this out? I said why didn't they contact me before now?"
Grissom says tried and failed to get anyone in Illinois to help.
"This is where my brother signed a statement that he got the ticket and everything. And it was notarized by a notary public", Grissom shows me. And I called that notary, who confirms posting her signature and seal after watching Butch Burgess signed the note in front of her.
Grissom finally gave up in December 2009, the same time Butch Burgess died.
"I can't go anywhere unless someone comes, and I'm not giving up my vehicle, so someone has to drive my vehicle. It's very frustrating. I don't like people driving my vehicle."
After meeting with Grissom, I emailed the media coordinator for the Missouri Department of Revenue. Ted Farnen tells me in some cases, a person in Grissom's position can get their license back, if the revocation or hold happened at least one year earlier.
It took just 6 days for Grissom to get the phone call he'd been waiting 7 years for. He'd been cleared to go take the Missouri driving test. He passed it on March 20th.
"It's unusual after 7 years to be driving again", Grissom tells me.
When Bob Grissom came to see me March 21st, he climbed out of the driver's seat of his green Chevy truck.
"I've got what they call a temporary driver's license until they mail it to you", he told me as he unfolded the piece of paper with his information and photo on it.
You've got a big smile on your face I see, I told him.
"Yeah, I was happy", he replied.
And Bob Grissom's not the only one. Even his dog Eli is happy.
"All he wants to do is stand at the door and wait for me to go to the truck", Grissom says with a smile.
It's not clear why Missouri didn't allow Bob Grissom to re-apply until now, but he's too happy to care.
If he travels into Illinois though, he could still be pulled over for that 1975 DUI.
I'm working with the Illinois Secretary of State's Office to see what can be done to finally clear that up.
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