CHICAGO (CBS) — A DMV damaged in the wake of George Floyd’s death last summer has cost people in the south suburbs a lot of time getting to the city to get things done, but now there is a solution nearly a year and a half after it burned.
It is hard to make out the remnants of the Secretary of State’s DMV in Chicago Heights, which is covered in thick black soot. Photos from inside after it was firebombed last summer show the damage.READ MORE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot Backs Declaring Juneteenth An Official City Holiday Starting Next Year
It is still not repaired, which is why Darryl Cooke is at his wits’ end.
“Thank you for giving me a voice. I feel like I’m speaking for everyone. It’s been outrageous,” he said.
For a few reasons, he has been at the DMV a half dozen times the last two weeks. With the building still closed, he has had to make several long trips from his home in Richton Park.
“Everyone had to go to 99th and King Drive,” he said. “And when I tell you it was mayhem, I mean, God bless the soul of the people working there right, but we just wrapped around outside around the building.”
“We’re as frustrated as anybody in terms of the damage that was done at that facility June 1 of that year and the delay that it’s caused,” said Dave Druker with the Secretary of State’s Office.
He said the state is renting the building, so it doesn’t have control over when the owner will finally fix it.READ MORE: Child Tax Credit: How Much Will Your Monthly Check Be?
What the state can do is create another option, and it finally has. Tuesday, a temporary DMV will officially open at Prairie State College. That’s where CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra met Cooke, during its soft opening Friday.
“This actually saved me a 30 minute trip back to Chicago,” he said.
While it’s not permanent, the space will be there for a while until repairs at the old facility are done.
“We don’t know when the older building that was so damaged will be ready to go. We’re going to be with this facility functioning until then,” said Druker.
It is already easing what is a stressful errand, making Cooke’s last visit to the DMV his easiest one.
“It captures a lot of territory of people who live in the south suburbs who don’t want to take that commute back to the city, so it’s perfect,” said Cooke.MORE NEWS: Decision Delayed Again On Mental Health Treatment In Jail For Serial Stowaway Marilyn Hartman
There are two other DMVs still closed that many are wondering about: the ones in West Chicago and the Thompson Center downtown. The Secretary of State’s office says it will share more about when they will be back open next month.