LITTLETON, Colo. – An Army pilot paralyzed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan is facing new challenges in the U.S. with simply getting a driver’s license.
David Ortiz has been trying to get a Colorado driver’s license for the past two years. His current Texas license expires at the end of May.
“The timeline is growing ever shorter. It’s not my job. I’ve served my country. I’ve sacrificed enough,” he said.
Ortiz moved to Colorado after finishing his rehabilitation at Craig Hospital. He never imagined it would be so difficult to get a driver’s license.
The problem is his name. It is fairly common. And there is a hold on his name in New Jersey and New Mexico.
It turns out people named David Ortiz have traffic infractions to take care of, but the fact they have the same name as this decorated Army veteran is preventing him from getting a license.
“I cannot be the only person in the country that this happens to with a very common name. If you have the first and last name and there is a hold on the national data base, you have to resolve those issues,” he said.
Ortiz said he got a “no match” letter from New Jersey within a matter of weeks. But New Mexico wanted him to appear in person.
“I took time out of my busy schedule and spent my money to drive down there, get a hotel room. Got the court case thrown out. When I received the documents from the court, I was told this would be sufficient and remove the hold and get a driver’s license,” he said.
But when Ortiz presented the documents at the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles, he was denied once again.
“I am being punished for simply having the same name as these other individuals,” he said.
After months on the phone getting nowhere, he asked the KDVR to help and learned from the DMV he should call the Driver Services call center. They were initially shocked to hear Ortiz’s story.
The call taker told him, “Wow. That’s crazy. Let me see what I can do.”
They were not able to help.
Now, Ortiz is running out of patience, but he’s not giving up.
“Why me? I think I have the opportunity to shed light on this issue and make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else,” he said.