Durham police say Diana Mems, 50, known to many drivers by her car’s license plate which reads “STAYUMBL,” has been in at least 31 traffic accidents since 2000.
Mems is now charged with careless and reckless driving, illegal passing, and impeding traffic after stopping her car in front of a school bus on a two-lane road, getting out of her car, and blocking it from moving.
The bus driver, Jacquanna Barrett-Laws, took a video of the incident and posted it on Facebook Friday, where it quickly went viral, garnering more than 80,000 views.
“She came from behind my bus, went into the oncoming traffic lane on the left, swerved in front of me and started slamming on brakes,” Barrett-Laws said. “I don’t know why she did it, but if she could do it to a school bus she could do it to anyone.”
CBS 17 has been investigating Mems since January after finding several videos of a car with the vanity license plate registered to Mems, STAYUMBL, driving in a reckless and aggressive manner.
Court records searches turned up 34 traffic violations and at least 45 mug shots.
Durham police say they’ve been looking into Mems’ driving since August.
“The first thing I did was pull up her driving record and saw she’s been in a lot of crashes,” Howard Henry said. He’s an investigator with the Traffic and Crash Team.
From there, Henry said he wanted to track Mems down to get her side of the story, but the address listed on her license was not correct.
It took two months for the officer to find her.
CBS 17 also tried an address Mems gave police on her most recent traffic citation that belonged to a Durham strip mall.
According to NC G.S. 20-7(n)(3), an individual must have a residency address listed on their driver license or state-issued identification.
Once Henry got in touch with Mems, he said he began to feel it was her word against those that were complaining.
“She said she wasn’t doing these things,” Henry said. “Obviously her tag was recognizable, so there could have been people who saw her tag and wanted to see what she was going to do. The thing is, if you’re following anybody at a proper following distance, nothing they can do ahead of you is going to cause you to get in a crash. If you’re at a proper following distance she would not be a danger to you.”
Barrett-Laws said she’s thankful Durham police are charging Mems in the bus incident, but she doesn’t agree that proper following distance would be enough to prevent incidents with Mems.
“They basically wanted to know if I was tailgating her, how close I was to her,” Barrett-Laws said. “He’s still trying to figure out why does she act this way, and I’m convinced it’s the woman. You can’t blame all the other hundreds of thousands of other drivers on Durham streets, on RTP streets – you can’t blame everyone else except for the real issue – you can’t go around it.”
Mems is due in Wake County court on May 6 for two outstanding traffic violations.
She’s due in Durham County court for the three bus-related violations on May 24.
Law enforcement said they are urging anyone who’s had an encounter with Mems to come to the court dates.