NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – When two North Texas driving schools closed down without notice, leaving dozens of teenagers stranded, parents called for Consumer Justice.
Michelle, who did not want her last name used, dropped her son off at Academy-1 Driving School in Euless for his scheduled drive time, but the instructor never showed up. He and other teens waited for a half hour in the dark before leaving. For days Michelle called, but the voicemail was full and the place was always closed. “No notes to tell the parents, they haven’t called us, no letters,” said Michelle.
Turns out, she was not alone.
Angela Leger had just signed her son up at A-ABC Driving School in Irving. When she took him for his second drive time, the door was locked and the lights were off. “I thought well that’s strange, maybe someone was sick, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt,” said Leger.
Tony Cooper and Judy Rohrssen are listed as the owners for both schools. Records show the one-time couple has been battling in family court for the last 18 months. She filed for divorce — but he says they were never married.
Her attorney says Rohrssen was fired three weeks ago. Cooper says the businesses were in such disarray, he had to close them.
Caught in the middle: parents and students, who had pre-paid for a driver’s education course.
“This was a business deal and they didn’t have any problem taking the money,” said Leger.
Paula Castro, another mother, added, “Business is business. My daughter doesn’t have anything to do with their relationship. She came here to do something and we just want — we want the obligation filled.”
Consumer Justice contacted the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which is now investigating what happened and working with the families to get refunds and the necessary paperwork to finish driver’s ed somewhere else.
Cooper gave CBS11 the following statement:
“The closing of the schools is a practice monitored and regulated by the State of Texas. The transfer of credits and hours is available through the TDLR, and any refunds that might be due are secured by a bond with the state. The operator of the schools is working to ensure no student is impacted adversely. The closing of the driving schools was a business decision by the majority shareholder, and because of ongoing litigation, further comment will not be forthcoming.”
Green Light Driving Academy in Grapevine, has volunteered to help the students. Their statement is below:
Green Light Driving Academy is providing assistance for parents and teens during this difficult time by offering guidance & reduced prorated rates to assist these students. Parents must first contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation at 512-463-6599 and obtain documentation authorizing us to proceed with their teen’s driver’s education.”