One Massachusetts state police sergeant allegedly got a new driveway and a snow blower in exchange for giving an unearned passing score to a driver seeking a commercial driver’s license.
That sergeant, Gary Cederquist, was one of six men indicted by a Boston federal grand jury this week. Authorities arrested Cederquist, Trooper Joel Rogers, and civilians Scott Camara and Eric Matheson on Jan. 31. On Jan. 29, police arrested retired troopers Calvin Butner and Perry Mendes in Florida. Authorities say they've revoked 26 licenses issued in the scheme.
The men are accused of making sure drivers passed their CDL tests, no matter how badly they might have performed in the vehicle inspection, basic skills, or road test for large vehicles such as school buses.
In text messages shown to the Boston grand jury, Cederquist texted a co-defendant about one of the drivers, calling him “an idiot.” Cederquist also texted: “No idea what he is doing.”
“The allegations, if true, are deeply disturbing,” said Curt Macysyn, executive director of the National School Transportation Association. “Private operations have long heard that third-party testing is not feasible, due to the opportunity for malfeasance of the same nature that we see here in a traditional state-run system. While there are certainly many hard-working regulators at work, we sincerely hope Gov. (Maura) Healy will take this opportunity to weed out anyone associated with this misconduct, as well as taking a fresh look at third-party testing in a system that would create natural checks and balances that would best serve the residents of Massachusetts.”
It’s certainly not the first time an official in charge of issuing licenses to heavy truck and school bus drivers faced prison time for helping would-be operators cheat their way onto the road.
In July 2022, a Texas Department of Public Safety employee named Alonzo Blackman was convicted of bribery and fraud charges after he issued 215 fraudulent CDLs for about $1,000 each.
Five years before that, two Detroit Department of Transportation workers – one of them retired – were accused of accepting $4,000 in cash to provide 85 CDLs for truck or bus drivers. Michelle Reid and Calvin Foulks ultimately pleaded guilty in that case.