Close But No Cigar, or CDL, on Wilson’s Second Try

Joey Wilson Jr. got farther than he did the first time, but the 27-year-old former dump truck driver still was unable to pass his commercial driver license re-test opportunity on Sept. 19.

After failing the pre-trip third of the exam on Sept. 15 because of miscommunication with examiner Evan Harrod during the brakes section, Wilson lucked into a re-test Sept. 19 thanks to a cancellation.

Following a quick brush-up with Truck America Training Instructor Bob Cross on Sept. 16, the day after he failed, Wilson returned to the test site for another go-round with Harrod. This time, Wilson made it to the final traffic light before disaster struck.

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“Pre-trip, I passed it with flying colors,” Wilson said. “I made sure I looked at [Harrod] before I did something and made sure that he heard me whenever I said it.”

With that hurdle cleared, Wilson moved on to the backing, offset and parallel parking maneuvers, only needing to leave the truck once before Harrod joined him in the cab for the road test.

With the lane change and the emergency stop completed, all that stood between Wilson and his CDL was the light just before the right turn into the parking lot that ends the exam.

“It turned green and I started going through it,” Wilson explained. “I was halfway through the intersection and it turned yellow on me. There was no one else there except for a vehicle [maybe 15 feet ahead of me] when the light turned green. He pulled through and I went after him and it turned. I immediately looked at [Harrod] and said, ‘That’s an automatic fail’ and he’s like, ‘Yep. Put it in the lot.’ “

Wilson said that the TAT staff told him that he was a victim of circumstance.

“Your vehicle’s technically through the intersection, what are you supposed to?” he complained. “You’re not going to stop. [The light’s] not red. [I’ve been told that Harrod’s] the only one that fails anybody for it. You’re trying to tell me that they don’t give no leeway on that? That’s a crock because they do.”

Kentucky State Police policy does not allow examiners such as Harrod, a retired state trooper, to speak to the media.

The good news for Wilson is that because he only needs to take the road portion for his second re-test with Harrod, that will happen Sept. 22 instead of the usual two to three weeks for a full re-test.

“I’m really excited about that,” Wilson said of the quick turnaround. Classmates Anna Basham and Teddy Flener Jr. are scheduled to take their re-tests on Sept. 28 and 29, respectively.

-By David Elfin, Transport Topics staff reporter. Photo by John Sommers II for TT.