But he only wanted to learn how to drive forward — reminiscent of those stories about the 9/11 hijackers telling flight instructors that they didn’t need to learn how to take off or land, but only to fly.
By Liza Porteus for FoxNews, with thanks to TJ:
NEW YORK “” Mohammed Yusef Mullawala wanted a license to transport hazardous materials and to learn how to drive commercial tractor trailers. There was nothing unusual about that, until he told his teacher that he only wanted to learn how to drive forward, and he wanted to learn fast.
That was enough to raise a red flag with Darleen Crawford, president of the Nationwide Tractor Trailer Driving School in Smithfield, R.I., where Mullawala took driving classes.
Federal and state authorities are investigating why Mullawala was seeking a commercial trucking license after his behavior raised flags at the Rhode Island driving school. Crawford said he was also insistent on taking the test necessary to earn a license to transport hazardous materials.
Mullawala, a 28-year-old citizen of India who is of Pakistani descent, is now in federal custody in Massachusetts on immigration violation charges….
Crawford started documenting suspicious activity: Mullawala lived in New York City but traveled to Rhode Island for the driving classes; he missed his first day of classes; and he was very insistent on getting his hazardous material transport license.
But the fact that he only seemed interested in driving forward was the most concerning.
“We tell them from Day One, ‘you will be backing up,’ ‘you’ll be backing up every single day,'” Crawford said, adding that it normally takes two to three weeks of practice backing up before drivers get road permits and learn how to drive forward, among other things.
The situation was reminiscent of when some of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers told their flight-school instructor they were only interested in how to fly planes at certain altitudes, not so much how to land or take off.
“He was just really pushing to get out of here,” Crawford said. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years so you just sort of know when something doesn’t feel right.”…
Investigators learned that when Mullawala obtained his driver’s license from the Rhode Island Registry of Motor Vehicles, he gave a false statement indicating he was a Rhode Island resident. ICE then determined he was a citizen of India and in the United States on an expired temporary student visa.
On Tuesday, Mullawala went to state police headquarters thinking he was responding to another matter. He was then apprehended and turned over to ICE….