AP NEWS

Wake DA taking harder stand against ‘STAYUMBL’ driver with history of traffic offenses

May 16, 2019

A Durham woman who has gained notoriety online for erratic driving and the license plate “STAYUMBL” is due in court in Wake and Durham counties next week to face multiple traffic charges.

But Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said that, after learning about Diana Taije Mems’ record, she isn’t treating her charges as a typical traffic case.

“We are concerned about the risk that she poses,” Freeman said.

Instead of disposing of speeding and reckless driving charges against Mems in traffic court on the second floor of the Wake County Justice Center, Freeman took the case to a grand jury to get an indictment, and the charges will be handled next Monday in Superior Court on the seventh floor.

“Traffic tickets, and traffic offenses in general, are not something that carry a lot of punishment behind them,” she said. “We want to make sure we are doing everything that we can to keep her off the road and to make sure that people are safe.”

Mems, 50, has become infamous on social media, where dozens of posts point out the “STAYUMBL” plate and criticize her driving. Some people accuse her of trying to force other drivers to rear-end her vehicle.

Last month, a school bus driver in Durham posted a video that showed the “STAYUMBL” car pulling in front of the bus and stopping suddenly on a two-lane road to block the bus. A woman got out of the car with a cellphone to record the incident as she pointed at the back of her car.

Mems was cited with reckless driving, improper passing and impeding traffic in that incident and is expected to be in traffic court in Durham next Friday on those charges.

WRAL News learned that Mems changed her license plate after receiving the citations.

A review of Mems’ criminal record by WRAL News shows nearly 140 charges in North Carolina since the mid-1980s, many under aliases such as Diana Tai Ray, Diana Maria Zorro and Deanna Jean Ray. She’s been convicted 28 times on charges ranging from passing bad checks and credit card fraud to breaking and entering and larceny, according to state Department of Public Safety records.

A Durham Police Department investigator who said he has been reviewing Mems’ driving record since last summer determined she’s been involved in 31 crashes since 2000.

“It is our understanding that she’s been involved in multiple collisions over a number of years,” Freeman said. “Unfortunately, people can be a real public safety hazard on the road.”

The Wake County District Attorney’s Office is working with the state Department of Insurance “to determine if there is something else going on here” regarding allegations that Mems stops in traffic and implies that other drivers hit her from behind, Freeman said.

WRAL News tried to contact Mems for comment, but none of the three addresses listed on her recent charges checks out – one was at a shopping mall.