Don Culpepper Reports On Log Jam At Drivers License Office

For Kim Renfroe of Saucier, her teenage son's quest for a learner's permit could have waited.

"If it was me, he wouldn't get it until after Christmas," says Renfroe.

Now she waiting along with a room full of others in one of the few driver's licenses bureaus open to South Mississippians.

"I had to get my name changed," says Jennifer Watros of Long Beach. "We got married right before Katrina."

This office on Highway 49 near Saucier sees overflow crowds nearly every day. The culprit is the same one that's caused long lines at so many other places, hurricane Katrina.

"The Highway patrol in general lost it's headquarters in Biloxi and the drivers license station in Gulfport," says Highway Patrol spokesman Joe Gazzo. "So we lost 2 of our 4 drivers license stations."

Gazzo says they not only lost facilities, but also personnel. But he says relief is on the way.

"We have some double wide trailers that are going in next to D'Iberville Stadium, and it will serve as temporary offices till we can get some permanent offices built."

Meanwhile, Gazzo says people can avoid the wait by putting off license changes or renewals until later if possible. Or, he says they can renew on line.

"You can go there and renew it if it's not expired. And it's a good option because you don't have to go anywhere."

But for license issues that need personal service, Gazzo says people should allow time to wait and remain patient as his over worked staff does their best to keep South Mississippi drivers street legal.