Winfield was a guy a grade ahead of me at Marble Falls High School. He had the reputation of doing wild and crazy things. We ran around together some, but weren’t constant companions in our school days. He was extremely intelligent, but lacking in the common sense department. After high school, he went off to college and became a C.P.A.
I saw very little of Winfield throughout the 70s, as he was in Houston, carving out his niche in the accounting world. Sometime in the early 80s, I found out that Winfield was in Austin working for a small local CPA firm. We managed to get together a few times for lunch. It seemed like Winfield’s craziness had leveled off with the responsibilities of his work and by that time he had become a father. His marriage had failed, but he was able to see his daughter often and was always so happy when she was with him.
With my business growing I thought that the perfect situation was for him to join my construction company, as our accountant and to oversee the financial end of our business. I made him a generous offer. He was growing tired of the humdrum of working in an accounting office and felt that my offer would give him the challenges he was really looking for.
He really caught on to the business in a hurry. He started organizing, hiring office help and making my life much easier. Being recently divorced, he was feeling his oats. He had a new story to tell about his love life daily. He kept all the guys entertained.
One of the first things he did was take off and went to San Antonio. He bought a shiny red Corvette. From that point he got speeding tickets on a regular basis. It began to occur to me that all of his craziness hadn’t completely left him. But as long as he did his job, I didn’t get too excited. I often wondered how a guy could continue to rack up all those tickets and keep his driver’s license.
One day when I posed that question to him, he said his license had been revoked a few weeks. He joking said now when he would get stopped, he would just tell the cop that he had lost his billfold. He would then give them my name and recite my drivers license number. He had all my information memorized, we were approximately the same size, so that always worked. I thought he was joking at first, but after thinking about it, I knew there was a strong possibility that he was using my identity.
A few weeks later, while driving in downtown Austin, right beside the police staion, he was involved in a wreck in a little white Ford Courier pickup, his transportation when he had first arrived in Austin. When they discovered that he had several outstanding tickets, he was haul off to jail.
Without money to bail himself out, he called me with desperation in his voice. “Please bring $950 and come to the city jail and get me out.” After some contemplating, I made a withdrawal and went downtown.
They had him in a holding area at the jail and when I entered I could tell he was shaken. I ask the desk sergeant in charge, if I could speak to Winfield in private. He allowed us to go out into an adjacent hallway. I told Winfield that the only way I would get him out is if he would go confess and tell the officer he had been using my name and racked up several tickets in my name also . If he didn’t go back in and get it all straightened out, I was leaving and he was going to stay. Reluctantly on Winfield’s part, we returned to the booking room, where he started explaining to the police sergeant what he had done.
The policeman was so astonished with what he was being told, by a Certified Public Accountant no less. He just sat there shaking his head. After Winfield had finished his story, the cop left the room for a few minutes. Upon returning, he told me that the tickets in my name had been cleared up. We were lead to the pay window where they took the $950 in settlement of the outstanding tickets and allowed my C.P.A. friend to leave with me.
I watched my driving record after that and never did have a problem from it.